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Seaspan Marks Milestone with Delivery of First Newbuild Boxship

Seaspan takes delivery of first newbuild contanership in expansion program
(file photo)

Published Oct 4, 2021 5:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

Seaspan marked a milestone in its construction efforts as part of its expansion program that will see the company nearly double the capacity of its containership fleet. Ten months after revealing the contract, Seaspan has taken the delivery on the first of 70 new containerships it has on order for delivery by 2024. Seaspan will be the world’s largest lessor of containerships, most of which are operated under long-term charters with the major carriers.

Few details were announced on the specific ship, with Seaspan only reporting delivery of the first of five 12,200 TEU vessels. They said the ship was immediately beginning an 18-year charter to a major liner customer. When they announced the agreement in December 2020, Seaspan said the vessels are subject to purchase obligations at the conclusion of the charters.

“This delivery marks a major milestone in Seaspan’s continuing quality growth,” said Bing Chen, Chairman, President and CEO of Seaspan. “About two months ahead of the scheduled delivery during a global pandemic is testament to how Seaspan creates value for our customers in a current vessel shortage market. I’m proud of our team’s supreme execution working with the logistical restrictions and our shipyard’s prioritizing of their limited resources to facilitate early delivery of this best-in-class vessel. This further demonstrates the capabilities of our fully integrated platform and resilient business model within the global logistics market.”

These vessels marked the beginning of the effort that has seen Seaspan assemble a record orderbook. Since November 2020, Seaspan has announced investments for 70 newbuild containerships, representing the addition of 839,000 TEU, which will add over $11 billion of gross contracted cash flows and will nearly double the fleet to 1,959,200 TEU. The charters range mostly between 10 and 18 years with one group of six being built for a five-year charter.

The strategic push started with a focus on what the company refers to as mid-sized containerships in the 15,000 TEU range. They highlighted this as one of the most versatile sizes with strong economic advantages for carriers. Among the orders were LNG-fueled vessels which will be operated by Zim.  Recently, however, the orders have shifted to the smaller end of the market focusing on 7,000 TEU capacity with a total of 15 vessels in this category now on order. Seaspan also contracted for two ultra-large 24,000 TEU vessels, which are believed to be for MSC.

The newbuilds followed a period of containership acquisitions. Since the end of 2019 and continuing into 2020, Seaspan acquired a total of 15 vessels in the secondhand market. Four further acquisitions were also made in 2021.

The growth strategy is focusing on growing as well as diversifying the Seaspan fleet, which previously was concentrated in the 10,000 to 14,000 TEU range. Seaspan will add more than 30 vessels between 15,000 and 16,500 TEU capacity. The company has also diversified its customer base to most of the major carriers.