Friday, June 17, 2011

NOL Orders 12 New Box Ships, Upgrades Order For 10 More

Officials from Neptune Orient Lines Group, the parent of ocean carrier APL and the seventh-largest shipping line in the world, announced Thursday that letters of intent had been signed with two South Korean shipbuilders for the construction of 12 new container vessels and that an existing order for 10 additional vessels had been upgraded in scope.

The new and upgraded orders are part of NOL's ongoing efforts to invest in new, larger vessels to reduce unit capital and operating costs, meet future growth needs and replace older and smaller chartered vessels that will be returned to their owners in the charter market.

The Singapore-based NOL Group said that the vessels, all to be built in South Korea, would include ten 14,000-TEU vessels to be constructed by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., Ltd and two 9,200-TEU vessels to be constructed by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co.

NOL officials said the carrier has also upgraded a December, 2010 order placed with Daewoo – originally for ten 8,400-TEU vessels – to ten 9,200-TEU vessels of a "new, more efficient design and technology."

The new vessels and upgrades will cost NOL about $1.54 billion with delivery set for 2013 and 2014. Earlier in June, NOL announced that it had secured $1.1 billion in loan agreements to cover the original order for the 8,400-TEU vessels from Daewoo, as well as two 10,700-TEU vessels the carrier ordered in 2007. 

According to NOL, the ten 14,000-TEU vessels – set for deployment in the Asia-Europe trade – will be NOL’s largest and most fuel efficient to date. The 9,200-TEU vessels in the upgraded order will likely be employed in the Trans-Pacific trade, NOL said.

The new vessels, according to NOL, will allow subsidiary shipping line APL to "provide more efficient, reliable service to customers."

The letters of intent are still subject to contract signing with the shipbuilders.