Ever Larger Box Boats to be Constructed in Japan
JAPAN – After months of speculation, and as we hinted at in our story earlier this week, the first official order has been placed for series of 20,000 TEU container ships. Imabari Shipbuilding has secured the newbuilding order via the Marubeni Corporation, for an as yet unnamed end user, for eleven units of 20,000 TEU Ultra-Large Container Carriers, measuring around 400 metres in length by 59 metres wide. The first vessel is scheduled to be completed in early 2018.
The deal has been strongly linked with Taiwanese box freight carrier, Evergreen Line, which earlier this week announced an agreement with Imabari affiliate Shoei Kisen Kaisha for eleven 18,000 TEU ships with similar hull dimensions and delivery schedule. Mr Yukito Higaki is president of both the two Japanese based groups Marubeni and Shoei.
Other industry analysts are predicting that the vessels may actually be destined for Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) to operate on various long term container charters. Japan has been losing ground as the supplier of choice of late for these box vessel newbuild with orders for the huge ships latterly going to other Asian nations such as South Korea and China.
In order to accommodate construction of these Ultra-Large newbuilding vessels, Imabari has decided to construct a large newbuilding dry dock, measuring 600m length by 80m breadth, on about 100,000 m2of reclaimed land, located next to its Marugame headquarters. Imabari says it will invest about 40 billion Yen in the new facility which will include a block factory and three 1,200 tonne of goliath cranes and expects the facility to be complete by October 2016.
Imabari is no newcomer to building large vessels of this type with over 200 constructed and has previously held the record for the biggest box vessel built stretching back to a 4,800 TEU ship way back in 1995.