The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has placed a $216m order for three 6,700-teu containerships with Daewoo Heavy Industries. The order comes as the company prepares to take delivery of ten 6,000-teu containerships, with a total value of around $700m, contracted at Hyundai and Daewoo Heavy Industries two years ago.
This time the MSC has upgraded specifications to 6,700-teu to keep up with the trend of larger containerships. However, it has resisted the temptation to order the huge 9,000-teu units, which Far Eastern yards are currently marketing to owners. Brokers believe that MSC's latest newbuildings will cost around $73m per ship. The main reason for the higher prices is the larger size of the vessels and the recent increase in newbuilding prices. The order is another indication that container operators are increasingly reluctant to order mega-box ships with capacities of 9,000-teu and larger, given the predictions of an economic downturn in the US. According to reports, Hapag Lloyd and P&O Nedloyd, which are also in talks with yards to order post-panamax containerships, have scaled down their plans from 10,000-teu vessels to 7,700-teu ships. China Shipping Group (CSG) was the first to take the plunge, recently ordering 9,000-teu containerships at Samsung. However, other players appear to be reluctant to follow CSG's lead.