Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is to lease five 18,000 teu capacity ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) for 15 years from tanker operator Scorpio Group and China’s Bank of Communications (BoCom), according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Scorpio Group had ordered three such vessels from Samsung Heavy Industries, costing around US$150m each, while BoCom ordered two from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co; both the sellers are Korean shipyards.
Last year, six ULCVs were also ordered to be leased by MSC; all 11 ships will be deployed between Asia and Europe and will be delivered between 2015 and 2016.
These orders are part of the formation of the 2M alliance between MSC and Maersk Line which will control roughly 30% of all cargo moved on the world’s busiest trade routes.
Maersk Line currently operates and is taking delivery of a number of the 20 ‘Triple E’ class of vessels it ordered ahead of the global economic downturn; final delivery of these ships is expected in 2015, which, along with the new MSC vessels, will give the 2M alliance a total of 31 such vessels.