Reflecting the strong long-term outlook for container shipping, Seaspan is continuing its aggressive newbuilding and fleet expansion program.
The company, which charters vessels to major carriers from MSC to COSCO, ONE, Maersk, CMA CGM, HAPAG and Yang Ming, among others, today announced eight additional cargo vessel orders, bringing the total to 25 newbuilding contracts and two recent acquisitions.
Bing Chen, Seaspan’s president and CEO, commented, “We continue to accelerate quality growth by leveraging our scalable, fully integrated, industry-leading platform, while strengthening our strong balance sheet and creative customer partnerships. We remain focused on differentiating our value-added service offering, improving the resiliency of our business model and extending our industry-leading operational excellence, all while consistently creating sustainable value for our shareholders.”
In the latest round of orders, Seaspan said it has reached an agreement with a major shipyard for the construction of four 12,000 TEU and four 15,000 TEU newbuilding containerships.
The construction contract also includes an option for four additional 15,000 TEU vessels. The vessels will use conventional fuel oil propulsion and will be equipped with scrubbers.
Delivery of the vessels is expected to begin in the second half of 2022 and run through the third quarter of 2023. They will operate on a long-term charter for an unidentified “major liner customer.”
Seaspan is working to consolidate its dominance in the core 10,000 to 15,000 TEU vessel segment, increasing its fleet in the category by 47%. In total, it now has 23 vessels on order for this category, as well as two 24,000-TEU ultra-large vessels. The newbuildings will add 367,000 TEU to the total fleet, which as of 2020 consisted of 127 vessels with a total capacity of approximately 1,073,000 TEU.
Ten of the 15,000 TEU vessels in the new order will be LNG-powered and will be long-term chartered to Zim when delivered. Industry speculation centers on some of the new vessels being for MSC, while some of the other orders are believed to be for some of the Asian container lines.
Earlier this week, Seaspan also announced that it was acquiring two 15,000 TEU newbuilding containerships. The two vessels are currently operating on a long-term charter and will be delivered to Seaspan by the end of the second quarter of 2021.