Yang Ming approves 20-ship fleet renewal plan


Yang Ming Marine Transport, the ocean shipping company based in Taiwan’s port city of Keelung, has said its board has approved a fleet renewal proposal for 20 new ships in an effort to gain an operational competitive edge in the market.

The Taipei-listed company will order 10 2,800 teu containerships and another 10 11,000 teu vessels, according to an exchange filing.

It added that more details, including vessel prices, will be disclosed later when the contracts are signed.

The plan was initially revealed by the Taiwan-based shipping firm’s chairman Bronson Hsieh in December.

Mr Hsieh said the company’s plan was to order or charter new tonnage to replace about 20 older vessels of between 3,000 teu-8,000 teu, whose charter contracts will expire over the next three years.

Yang Ming has chosen to proceed with the plan, despite doubts expressed earlier by analysts about its capability to order ships on a large scale because the carrier is still mired in debts.

As of the end of 2017, the company’s short-term liabilities amounted to T$26.6bn ($908.8m), according to a filing released in January.

But the company said its bank facilities will be extended and that its current primary task is to improve operating performance.

Yang Ming’s approval for fleet renewal comes on the heels of an order by compatriot carrier Evergreen Marine, for 20 11,000 teu new ships — 12 of which will be chartered in from Shoei Kisen Kaisha and eight ordered directly at Samsung Heavy Industries.