Yang Ming Plans First LNG Containership Order for Taiwan
Taiwan-based ocean carrier Yang Ming confirmed that it is moving forward with an order for five new 15,000 TEU containerships at will be fueled by LNG. The company joins the growing list of containership owners that are electing to use LNG and while a later entrant follows the trend for larger ships.
Yang Ming noted that it will also become the first shipping company in Taiwan that owns LNG-powered containerships. They said the board decided to proceed with the order based on its future fleet deployment plan, business projections, and international environmental laws and regulations. The use of what they called “a relatively mature low-carbon technology,” they noted would meet future international regulations and help the company to meet its objective on environmental sustainability while stepping up the competitive edge for the entire fleet. No details, however, were offered on the ships or the shipbuilding order.
While saying that the shipbuilding plan is set to strengthen the company’s mid- to long-term operational competitiveness and accelerate its fleet renewal plan, analysts have noted that Yang Ming has been slow to respond to the market and absent from the widespread move to order additional new tonnage. Competitors drove the containership orderbook to record levels in 2021 while Yang Ming continued to discuss but not proceed with orders. According to Alphaliner, Yang Ming is currently the ninth largest international carrier with a fleet of 92 ships and a total capacity of nearly 665,000 TEU but currently only has five ships on order due for delivery this year and until now has not placed further orders.
The company acknowledged that its board approved the order for the five new containerships in January 2022, as part of a broader strategy for growth. The company said it also plans to acquire new containers and was targeting additions for the feeder ship segment of the market. They reported interest in adding ships with a capacity of 1,200 to 1,800 TEU.
After studying the options for propulsion, Yang Ming said LNG addresses climate change and the move to low-carbon transitions. The industry’s LNG orderbook reached new levels in 2021 setting records for the number and size of ships ordered. Clarksons reported that 30 percent of the gross tonnage ordered in 2021 was for LNG fueled vessels, while DNV tallied the orders at 240 vessels. Martin Christian Wold, Principal Consultant at DNV noted that LNG orders were more than the previous four years combined.
Yang Ming is currently completing the delivery of its previous class of new containerships being built in Japan. Delivery of the class had begun in 2020 and will be completed this year. The vessels have a capacity of 11,860 TEU and measure 1,095 feet in length. The ninth ship of the class, the YM Together was delivered in November 2021 and was being used to upgrade service on the company’s route between Asia, Vancouver, and Seattle.