OOCL Kicks Off New Generation of Ultra-Large Boxships 

OOCL ultra large container vessel
OOCL Spain with a second vessel of the class in the dry dock (NACKS)

Published Feb 16, 2023 12:21 PM by The Maritime Executive

COSCO’s Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) is poised to usher in the first of the new generation of ultra-large containerships (ULCV) as the industry moves beyond the 24,000 TEU hurdle. The first of the company’s new generation of containerships was named today, February 16, at the Nantong COSCO Kawasaki Ship Engineering Co. (NACKS) in Nantong, China.

Named OOCL Spain, the vessel is reported to be 228,000 dwt. The vessel has the same overall dimensions as other large containerships, with a length of 1,312 feet and a 201-foot beam, but the Chinese shipyards are working at increasing the carrying capacity of the vessels through the design and placement of the container racks. OOCL reports its new vessel will have a rated capacity of 24,188 TEU, which will be nearly 13 percent larger than the company’s current largest class of six vessels introduced in 2017 and 2018 rated to carry 21,413 TEU.

The OOCL Spain will be able to stack boxes up to 22 layers on deck with the shipyard reporting the deck space is equivalent to 3.5 football fields in size. The vessel is part of a group of giant new boxships with Evergreen having recently completed delivery of its ULCVs while MSC and Hapag-Lloyd are both preparing to launch their classes of giant ships also in the coming weeks. The title for the largest capacity vessel is likely to go to the MSC Irina and MSC Loreto, both currently completing at Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group in China. The shipyard has said those vessels will be rated for 24,346 TEU and able to stack boxes up to 25 layers.


Containership alongside for the naming ceremony today in China (OOCL)


"OOCL Spain is not only the first newbuilding that has been delivered to us in over five years, but it is also OOCL’s first vessel with a capacity over 24,000 TEU, said Kenny YE, Chief Operating Officer of Orient Overseas Container Line. “More importantly, she is the first newbuilding received by OOCL since the company joined the COSCO SHIPPING Group, and so it is the first vessel jointly created by OOCL and other sister companies."

During the naming ceremony for the new vessel, they highlighted China’s advancement in the building of containerships. They noted that the country has progressed from 5,400 TEU vessels built in 2000 to the current ships.

The class of vessels was independently designed by NACKS and features advancements in the optimization of the hull for low resistance. The vessel also incorporates a range of technology including shaft generators to increase operating efficiency. The shipyard notes the vessel exceeds IMO Tier 3 requirements. The ship also earned three “Smart Ship” notations from the American Bureau of Shipping which classed the vessel. They relate to the monitoring systems to improve fuel efficiency, structural monitoring, and navigation systems.

After delivery in March, the OOCL Spain will enter the company’s service between Asia and Europe. The route starts in Shanghai and after calls in Asia transits the Suez Canal with a stop in Piraeus, Greece before proceeding to Northern Europe. The round trip will last 84 days.

OOCL ordered a total of six of the ultra-large vessels to be delivered by NACKS. The shipyard was also part of the October 2022 order from the shipping company’s parent company COSCO for a total of 12 methanol dual-fuel powered containerships which will also have a capacity of 24,0000 TEU. NACKS will build seven of the vessels due for delivery between the third quarter of 2026 and the third quarter of 2028 that will be operated by OOCL.

OOCL Spain during her November 2022 float out from the construction dry dock (OOCL)