Strong Feeder Ship Growth with Orders From X-Press and CMA CGM

growth in containership feeder vessels shipbuilding
X-Press Feeders ordered 16 new ships (X-Press)

Published Nov 29, 2021 4:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

With the container shipping industry focusing on the economies of scale of the ultra-large ships, it is also creating an increasing opportunity at the other end of the spectrum for feeder vessels. The latest round of orders for new builds is focusing on the smaller vessels.

Singapore-based X-Press Feeders, which already reports that it is the world’s largest independent feeder carrier, is moving forward with an order for a new class of environmentally friendly feeder vessels. The company will be marking its fiftieth anniversary in 2022, operating a fleet of about 100 vessels ranging in capacity from 540 to 5,400 TEUs.

X-Press Feeder contracted for 16 containerships each with a capacity of 1,170 TEU. The order is being evenly split between China's New Dayang Shipbuilding Co. and Ningbo Xinle Shipbuilding Group. The first vessels will enter the company’s Europe and Americas trade routes by Q4 2023, with all vessels joining the company by the end of 2024.

"We are very excited to commission the building of these ships, that will provide cutting edge technology to deliver a balance of environmental sustainability and operational excellence,” said Shmuel Yoskovitz, CEO of X-Press Feeders. “The X-Press Feeders Group is committed to maintaining an eco-friendly approach to expanding and modernizing our global operated fleet."

The company said that the new feeder ships will be outfitted with ultramodern, dual-fuel engines, that can operate on regular fuel or green methanol, and are specifically designed to be highly fuel-efficient.

Last week, South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard reported in a stock exchange filing that it had received an order for 10 feeder class containerships. While they only reported that it was for an unspecified European shipowner, the order has been linked to France’s CMA CGM. The shipping giant had been soliciting proposals for feeder vessels from both South Korean and Chinese shipyards.

The 10 new ships, each with a capacity of 2,000 TEU, are being reported as the most expensive yet ordered. The vessels will be outfitted for LNG dual-fuel operations. They will also be ice-class hulls designed to operate it is believed in the Baltic. Hyundai valued the contract at $627 million with delivery by the end of 2024.

In addition to these orders, in September, Evergreen Marine confirmed it placed an order valued at nearly $1.1 billion for feeder vessels to be built by at CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding Company. Evergreen is building two vessels each with a capacity of 1,800 TEU as well as two sets of 11 ships each, one class with a capacity of 2,300 TEU and the other class with a capacity of 3,000 TU.

China’s Jiangnan Shipyard, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation, last week also delivered the last of five feeder vessels that it was building that will be operated by Maersk. The Nuuk Maersk is a 2,200 TEU feeder that is 564 feet long. The five ships were delivered between April and November of this year.