COPENHAGEN: Maersk Line has ordered seven 3,600 TEU container vessels plus two options for its European short-sea subsidiary Seago Line.
Established in 2011 and based in St. Petersburg, Russia, Seago operates 67 vessels with a total capacity of 133,000 TEUs throughout Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.
The new vessels, built to trade through sea ice, will be delivered between April and November 2017 and replace much smaller capacity that currently operates in the Baltic and North Sea.
The ships will sail on marine gas oil (MGO) and be compliant with SOx (Sulphur oxides) emission limits that came into force throughout Northern Europe in January this year.
Maersk says it is the first time it has placed a building order with COSCO in Zhoushan, China and it will also be the first time the shipyard has built container vessels.
The Seago ships are the start of a $15 billion, five-year investment program by Maersk Line that will include new buildings, retrofits and more containers in order to add capacity as well as replace less efficient chartered tonnage.
"I am very confident that COSCO Shipyard, with their solid shipbuilding experience and a good track record will deliver high quality and fuel efficient vessels," said Søren Toft, Maersk Line COO.
"Our strategy is to grow with the market and to do so we need new vessels from 2017. We expect to place additional orders during 2015," he added.