Pan-Japanese liner operator Ocean Network Express (ONE) is chartering four 15,000TEU newbuildings from Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Maritime, which began taking delivery of the ships from Hyundai Heavy Industries early in September 2020.
The first of the four units, Zenith Lumos, is now heading to Qingdao, China. The other sister ships, Zephyr Lumos, Zeus Lumos and Zenith Lumos, are slated for delivery in January, February and June 2021, respectively.
The ships will be deployed on THE Alliance's Asia-Mediterranean service. Zenith Lumos, filling in for HMM’s two 6,000TEU ships, has already been scheduled to call at Shekou on 29 September, and thereafter, to Singapore, Piraeus, La Spezia, Genoa and Fos, Marseille.
Zodiac ordered the ships in August 2018, with brokers initially linking the newbuilding orders to a long-term charter with South Korean liner operator HMM. However, at the time, HMM denied any such charter arrangement.
Carriers have been achieving profits through reducing shipping capacity amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the Chinese government intervened to cool rising freight rates, Sea-Intelligence forecast that carriers would reduce Asia-Mediterranean capacity by 1.4% during China’s week-long National Day holidays in the first week of October.
The Shanghai Shipping Exchange shows that Asia-Mediterranean rates are now around US$1,193/TEU, up US$5 from last week.
The four new ships chartered by ONE have dimensions of 366m x 51m (20 rows). The scrubber-fitted vessels are powered by a 10-cylinder WinGD X92 diesel engine. The 43,505kW engines can power the ships to maximum speeds of 22 knots.