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RCL enters Neo-Panamax segment with 12,000TEU pair

Thai feeder operator Regional Container Lines (RCL) is moving into the Neo-Panamax sector after buying two 12,000TEU ships for US$115 million each.

Without disclosing the vessel names, RCL said in a filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand that the vessels were purchased from Panama-incorporated Giant Line Inc, and that they will be delivered between 2022 fourth quarter and 2023 first quarter.

Vessel databases show that Giant Line is a special purpose vehicle company controlled by Japanese tonnage provider Kyosei Kisen.

It is not known if RCL will deploy the ships to its own services or charter the vessels to other operators. A spokesperson at the company told Container News that no deployment plans have been firmed up.

Since the start of the year, RCL has purchased six ships, joining the rush for tonnage amid the red-hot market.

For the first half of the year, RCL's net profit rose 27-fold to US$190.51 million, citing surging demand for durable goods and medical supplies due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

"Tight shipping capacity and port congestion placed additional upward pressure on freight rates," said RCL.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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