He was speaking at a reception to mark arrival, on its maiden voyage, of the carrier’s UK-flagged 8,452teu Ever Leading boxship at the port of Felixstowe.
Meanwhile, Evergreen took the opportunity to refute claims that it had introduced a new string on the overcapacity-plagued Asia to Europe tradelane.
Hammond’s remarks followed uncertainty about whether Evergreen would register more vessels with the UK Shipping Register, due to concerns about possible changes to tonnage tax.
Ever Leading is the third of the carrier’s new L-type fleet to fly the UK flag and by 2015 another seven units will have come on board.
Evergreen refuted claims that recent changes to its Asia-Europe CEM service had resulted in a new sling.
The service was previously jointly deployed with China Shipping. When the agreement expired in August, Evergreen joined forces with Hanjin on the loop.
Evergreen President Anchor Chang said: “Our L-type newbuildings are introduced mainly for fleet renewal rather than expansion of market share.”
Pointing out that in September 2012, versus September 2008, Evergreen only increased its capacity by 2%, he said: “Without over-expanding our operating fleet, we don’t find it necessary to withdraw capacity The capacity expansion rates of many other major carriers are several times higher than ours.
“When our L-type vessels were deployed on the Asia-Europe trade recently, we implemented a cascading programme to replace existing vessels to other markets. The newbuildings were not used to launch extra service in the Asia-Europe market.”
He added: “With more new ships joining our fleet, we will gradually return chartered vessels and replace old ships with newbuildings.”
Evergreen commenced a new shipbuilding project in 2010 with an order of 20 L-type vessels from Samsung Heavy Industries. It placed an order for another 10 vessels of the same specifications with Taiwan Shipbuilding Corp in 2011. Seven of the 30 new buildings are expected to be delivered by the end of 2012.