The Greek non-operating shipowner Costamare, whose fleet is consolidated under the ownership of the New York Stock Exchange-registered Costamare Incorporated, has signed a letter of intend to order five 9,000 teu container ships at the Hanjin Philippines Shipyard of Subic Bay. In addition, Costamare has signed options for a further five units of similar size and design.
It is unknown whether the company’s orders are backed up by long-term charter deals to a liner operator or whether the newbuildings have been ordered speculatively. The vessel orders follow very shortly after the announcement of a partnership between Costamare and the private equity group York Capital, under which the two companies seek to invest jointly up to USD 500 million in equity for the acquisition of container vessels. Under the terms of the complex agreement, Costamare will own between 25% and 49% of the new assets, whereas York Capital will hold the balance.
Next to CMA CGM, Ship Finance International and the United Arab Shipping Company, Costamare is thus the next vessel owner to join the recent containership ordering spree.
The ships that Costamare will order are believed to be further examples of the more and more common 9,000 teu compact wide-beam category, which measure in at about 300m in overall length and 48.20m (19 rows) in beam. Costamare will reportedly pay around USD 80 million per ship and thus invest between USD 400 million and USD 800 million. While it is of course rather likely, it has not been revealed whether the five or ten newbuildings will be part of the aforementioned joint venture with York Capital or not.
A detailed delivery schedule for the newbuildings has not been disclosed, but the ships are expected come on stream from 2015.
Apart from the new orders at Hanjin Subic Bay, Costamare’s orderbook still includes six large container vessels. All of these are compact wide beams of around 9,000 teu. The Company will still take delivery of three out of five 8,827 teu ships it is building at South Korea’s Sungdong Shipyard for charter to Evergreen. The first two ships of the type, named VALOR and VALUE, were recently handed over. In one week’s time meanwhile, Costamare will take delivery of the first of three 9,403 teu ships from China’s Jangnan Changxing Shipyard. All three of these will enter long-term charters with MSC.