Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Evergreen to Negotiate up to 100 New Box Ship Orders

Taiwan-based transportation conglomerate Evergreen Group, the parent of the only major container line without new vessels on order, plans to begin negotiations with shipbuilders next month for up to 100 new container vessels.

The talks, according to statements by Evergreen chairman Chang Yung-fa to Japanese media last week, said the negotiations with interested shipyards in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are expected to begin in May.

Evergreen Marine, currently ranked the fifth largest container line in the world and the sole carrier in the world's top 20 lines with no ships on order, said the $5.4 billion plan would more than double the carrier's current fleet of 81 owned vessels. The carrier also currently charters an additional 69 vessels.

The purchase plan consists of vessel orders including just over 30 vessels with 8,000 TEU capacity, 20 vessels each of 7,024 TEU and 5,364 TEU capacities, and 20 or more 2,000 TEU vessels for feeder service. The ships are mostly planned to replace older vessels now in the Evergreen fleet. Expected delivery dates were not mentioned.

It is expected that the carrier will be able to negotiate lower prices for the vessels compared to just a few years ago. According to some experts, including British shipbroker Clarkson, worldwide vessel values have dropped between 30 and 40 percent since Evergreen last took delivery of a vessel in early 2008.

Evergreen's various transpacific services call at the ports of Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, Canada.