OOCL is pleased to announce that we have signed newbuilding contracts with shipyards Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co., Ltd. (NACKS) and Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co. Ltd. (DACKS) for five new container vessels, each at a cost of $155.68 million with a nominal capacity of 23000 TEU, and we expect to begin taking delivery of these vessels in the year 2023.
These five new buildings are part of our ongoing program to introduce large, modern, and fuel-efficient vessels to further strengthen our fleet competitiveness as well as fleet rebalancing by increasing the proportion of the ships we own in the core fleet while a number of vessels leased under long-term charters will be returned to the owners.
Today, OOCL only has six G-Class mega-vessels, each with a capacity of approximately 21000 TEU. These vessels were ordered in March 2015, as the first step in OOCL’s expansion into this class of mega vessels for the Asia-Europe trade. The original plan at that time was to have ordered a second batch of five to six mega vessels.
However, this addition to the original order has never happened thus far, first because of the terrible market conditions of 2016, and then throughout 2017-2018 with focus being on the execution of the sale of the OOIL group to COSCO SHIPPING Holdings.
The announcement for this new order for 23000 TEU vessels is indeed this long-awaited second step, and is consistent with our strategic plan for further growth. We will have the potential to independently form a complete loop in the Asia-Europe trade where we intend to deploy them in order to strengthen OOCL’s overall competitive position in the market and improve services to customers.
Balancing this expansion, over the next five years we plan to return or dispose of 13 vessels from our fleet, a total of around 76000 TEU, after successful long-term service in our group.
Furthermore, these new vessels will help bring economies of scale to OOCL’s unit cost structure and enable the company to continue to play an influential role in offering more competitive and best-in-class services to customers. We are pleased to say that the latest engine technology and other state-of-the-art equipment will be used to achieve greater operational efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, which is consistently in line with our work and commitment to corporate sustainability and environmental protection.
As we look forward into the long-term future, and notwithstanding the current turbulence in the market, today’s investment in these long-term assets supports our strong belief in the Asia-Europe trade as one of the world’s major corridors of commerce for decades to come.
This initiative is a solid indication of confidence in our group’s dual brand strategy implemented upon COSCO SHIPPING Holdings’ acquisition of OOIL in 2018, with an overall objective to optimize our fleet structure, enhance our service capabilities in the global supply chain and meet measured growth objectives.