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Hapag-Lloyd Places $1 Billion Order for Ultra Large Ships with DSME

Hapag places large shipbuilding order in South Korea
Hapag's six A18 class vessels are currently the largest they operate - courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd

Published Dec 23, 2020 2:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

After months of rumors of a pending order, Hapag-Lloyd confirmed that it has signed an order with the Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) for what could become the world’s largest ultra large containerships. The order is valued at approximately $1 billion.

While details were limited, the line confirmed that it ordered six ultra large container vessels each with a carrying capacity of more than 23,500 TEU. The contract calls for delivery to Hapag between April and December 2023.

“With the investment in six ultra large container vessels we will not only be able to reduce slot costs and improve our competitiveness on the Europe – Far East trade, but also take a significant step forward in modernizing our fleet. Additionally, we will further reduce our environmental impact,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd in announcing the order.

The vessels will be LNG dual-fuel ships with MAN believed to have been selected to provide the engines. Hapag said that the vessels will be fitted with a state-of-the-art High Pressure dual-fuel engine, which will be extremely fuel efficient. The engine will operate on LNG but has alternatively sufficient tank capacity to operate on conventional fuel.

The new ships also represent a substantial step-up for Hapag from the company’s current largest vessels. The A 18 Class, owned by United Arab Shipping, and operated by Hapag has a capacity of just under 19,000 TEU. Built in 2015, that class of ship each measure 1,312 feet in length and 199,700 DWT.

By comparison, HMM took delivery on the HMM Algeciras in April 2020, which currently is considered the world's largest container ship with a nominal capacity of nearly 24,000 TEU. In May, when the HMM Algeciras departed Yantian she set a new record with 19,621 TEU of cargo on board, but that was topped in October 2020 by CMA CGM’s new vessel the CMA CGM Jacques Saade. On her maiden voyage, she reportedly departed carrying 20,723 TEU worth of cargo - about 10 percent below her nominal maximum capacity of 23,112 TEU.

Hapag said that it plans to deploy its new class of ships on the Europe – Far East routes as part of THE Alliance. The company believes that they will increase its competitiveness in this trade.

Currently, Hapag-Lloyd operates a worldwide fleet of 234 container ships with a total capacity of 1.7 million TEU.