CHINA's Cosco Shipping Corp will purchase 14 more containerships in two deals worth a combined US$1.78 billion.
Six mega ships will be purchased from Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co with eight vessels purchased from Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co. The 14 vessels are slated for delivery over the next two years.
Traditionally, Chinese shipping companies mainly transported containers on shipping lines between Asia and Africa, and China and Southeast Asia," said Wan Min, General Manager of China Cosco Shipping Corp. "But we are now focusing on major shipping lines between Asia and Europe, and Asia and North and South America.
"Free trade arrangements, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Agreement and China-Australia FTA, will also offer new growth opportunities for China Cosco Shipping's container cargo services in the Asia-Pacific region," he added.
Cosco Shipping Lines, the container carrier subsidiary of Cosco Shipping Corp, has an order for 33 containerships that would add another 500,000 TEU to its total 1.64 million-TEU fleet.
Cheng Zhiwei, an Analyst with Changjiang Securities Co, who said new orders for containerships will boost the company's presence.
"The race for larger container vessels will delay the recovery of the industry as the global shipping sector has experienced rocky times in recent years," said Mr Zhiwei.
But Wang Mingzhi, Deputy Director-General of the Waterborne Transport Bureau at the Ministry of Transport, said an upgrade was a positive move. "Better-equipped ships will help the company compete against international rivals," said Mr Wang.
The world's top container lines, Maersk Line of Denmark, MSC of Switzerland and CMA CGM of France hold a 40 per cent market share globally, leaving Chinese companies with "a relatively small share in comparison," according to Mr Wang.