The Oslo-listed SinOceanic Shipping ASA today announced that it had placed firm orders for a series of ten 8,800 teu container ships at the Chinese shipyard of Jinhai Heavy Industries.
SinOceanic said it had entered into a contract with the yard on behalf of foreign interests. The company did not disclose technical details of the ships, but referred to them as ‘state-of-the art super eco containerships’. It is believed that the vessels will be further examples of the recent compact-wide beam ships of 300m in length with a beam of 48.20m, or 19 rows of containers.
Deliveries are scheduled to start in mid-2015. Upon delivery, all vessels will enter into long-term, fixed charter parties, with undisclosed operators.
According to SinOceanic’s statement, the total transaction, consisting of the combined value of the vessels and the charter parties, has a total gross value of approximately USD 2.4 billion.
SinOceanic Shipping ASA will provide management services during the building process and after delivery of the vessels. The company will receive a customary annual management fee for the services rendered.
SinOceanic is already a boxship owner. In recent years, the company acquired, through wholly-owned subsidiaries, four container vessels:
In November 2010, the Norwegians bought the 4,444 teu YM PORTLAND, which was then chartered back to Yang Ming on a long term basis. In 2012, SinOceanic then acquired three identical 13,092 teu neo-panamaxes: the MSC ALTAIR and MSC REGULUS were bought pre-delivery from Hamburg-based owner E.R. Schiffahrt, with long term charters to MSC attached. A third ship of the type, MSC VEGA, was bought from MSC and also chartered back long term.
The fact that MSC was believed to be looking at 9,000 teu ships and the existing relations between SinOceanic suggest that the recent order could have been placed on behalt of MSC. However, neither of the two companies so far commented publicly.