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Confirmation came yesterday that CMA CGM is to order nine 22,000 teu ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) at a total cost of $1.44bn – new tonnage the industry says is not needed.

The letter of intent has been signed by the French carrier with two Chinese yards, Hudong-Zhonghua and Shanghai Waigaoqiaso Shipbuilding, marking another blow to the sustainability of South Korean yards. According to sources, South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries competed for the deal, but was outbid.

This article in China Daily sums up the desperate times for the South Korean yards, which have seen their markets eaten up by the fierce competition from the Chinese state-owned yards.