Orient Overseas Container Line named its first ultra large containership on Friday in South Korea, as vessels over 20,000 teu continue to gradually enter the market.
With a carrying capacity of 21,413 teu, OOCL Hong Kong marks “an important milestone for us”, said CC Tung, chairman of Orient Overseas (International) Limited, the shipping line’s Hong Kong-listed parent company.
The 400 m long, 58.8 m wide ship, built at Samsung Heavy Industries, will be the third ULC exceeding 20,000 teu to come into operation this year. The 20,600 teu Madrid Maersk and 20,170 teu MOL Triumph were delivered in April and March respectively.
Apart from the OOCL Hong Kong, the Hong Kong-based carrier has another five ships of a similar size on order — all set to be delivered by SHI in 2017.
Speaking to Lloyd’s List during the recent Singapore Maritime Week, OOCL chief executive Andy Tung said that the company would stick to the delivery schedules for those five vessels, despite the delay of six 20,000 teu-class ships from 2018 to 2019 recently announced by its Ocean Alliance partner Cosco Shipping Lines.
CC Tung said at the ship christening ceremony on Friday: “While our industry seems to have the knack to outdo one another in building larger containerships relatively quickly these days, faced with increasing competition and unending pressure on costs, we need to take the bold step in operating larger size ships of quality and high efficiency in order to stay relevant and compete effectively as a major container shipping company.”
According to Clarskons, the industry’s total ULC orderbook currently stands at 56 units — 40 boxships of or above 20,000 teu, six of 19,150 teu and 10 of 18,000 teu — with expected delivery between 2017 and 2020.
The OOCL Hong Kong will be serving the Asia-Europe trade lane on the LL1 service in a 77-day round trip.
The port rotation will be Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Yantian, Singapore, via Suez Canal, Felixstowe, Rotterdam, Gdansk, Wilhelmshaven, Felixstowe, via Suez Canal, Singapore, Yantian, Shanghai.