The world’s largest container carrier said its orderbook amounts to about 11 percent of its current capacity, but with scrapping and redelivery of chartered ships, it expects to grow in line with main competitors.
Maersk Line is taking delivery of 27 ships over the next two years, which will have a combined capacity amounting to 11 percent of its current capacity, but plans to use scrapping and redelivery of chartered tonnage to control growth, the carrier said.
The 27 ships, all to be delivered by the end of 2018, consist of:
• 10 more second generation “Triple E” ships similar to the 20,568-TEU Madrid Maersk it took delivery of earlier this month;
• Nine “H-Class” containerships with a capacity of 15,226 TEUs;
• And seven ice-strengthened containerships with a capacity of 3,596 TEUs.
“Our strategy is to grow in line with our main competitors, and we do that through a combination of buying new and used ships, and chartering vessels,” Maersk Line Chief Operating Officer Søren Toft said in an article appearing on the company’s website. “These new vessels help modernize our fleet, significantly improve our operational efficiency, and will help us achieve our growth ambitions, regardless of short-term economic cycles.”
Maersk Line said its head haul utilization rate “hit an average of 93 percent in 2016, leaving little room for growth without additional capacity.”
“If you look at our current order book and also the capacity we are able to return to charter owners, which is roughly 20 percent, we are in a pretty good position,” Toft said.
Maersk Line said this gives it the “flexibility to adjust fleet capacity when new vessels come on-stream. Maersk Line is also recycling old and more inefficient vessels. In the first quarter of 2017, Maersk Line recycled seven Panamax vessels.”
Toft said, “We are expecting to grow this year, and expecting global growth of about 3 percent, but if those things don’t happen, we also have a powerful ability to adjust our network to changing conditions in a way that many other shipping lines do not have.”
Because of a redesign, the new generation of Triple E ships are able to carry about 2,000 more TEUs than the first generation of ships delivered between 2013-2015, even though the overall dimensions of the ship have remained similar.
Likewise, Maersk Line said a new design means the H-Class ships can carry 15,226 TEUs on a vessel with a length that is 46 meters shorter than the Emma Maersk, which was the world’s largest containership when it was delivered in 2016.
That small size will give the H-Class ships “operational versatility in order to take advantage of shifting trade patterns,” Maersk Line said.
“The greater capacity allows it to efficiently serve on the East-West trades, while its smaller size means it is also capable of calling what are typically smaller ports on the North-South trades, if needed,” the carrier added.
Maersk Line said the seven ice-class Baltic feeder vessels it is building “were designed both to meet the specific emission regulations of the region and the rising volume growth in this trade in recent years. The 3,596-TEU nominal capacity of the vessels more than doubles the current size (1,400-1,700 TEU). And since the vessels will use marine diesel fuel, they will be fully compliant with the Emission Control Area (ECA) rules established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).”