China to build four of the world’s largest containerships

China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) has received an order to build four of the world’s largest containerships. The four ships, which will each have a capacity of 24,000 TEU, will rival the recent announcements from Hapag-Lloyd and ONE Network Express, each of which last week also announced orders for ultra large containerships.

Two subsidiary shipyards within CSSC will share this new order with the lead project and design work to be handled by Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding. Hudong Zhonghua will build two of the ships and Jiangnan Shipbuilding will build two additional ships.

The announcement said the four containerships had been ordered by the Chinese financing company Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. as the first step in a strategic cooperation agreement signed between China Shipbuilding Corporation and Bank of Communications Co., on December 18. Details of the operations of the four ships were not included in the announcement, but the shipping industry believes the ships are being built for MSC Shipping.

No timeline for the construction or delivery date was included in the announcement of the contract.

The details of the new order are similar to the containership project Hudong Zhonghua recently started with the Evergreen Group. Construction started on the first 24,000 TEU containership ordered by Evergreen on November 27, 2020.

Less than a week ago, Hapag-Lloyd signed an order for six ultra large container vessels that will have a capacity of more than 23,500 TEU. Hapag’s vessels are to be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea due for delivery between April and December 2023.

The following day, Ocean Network Express announced it had signed a Letter of Intent for six ultra large containerships each with a capacity greater than 24,000 TEU. They will be built by a consortium between Imabari Shipbuilding Co. and Japan Marine United Corporation and are expected to be delivered in 2023 and 2024.

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