HMM Algeciras 4

South Korea’s flagship line, HMM, has invited tenders from its four largest compatriot shipbuilders to build nine 8,000 teu containerships.

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Samsung Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and HJ Shipbuilding & Construction said ther had provided their best prices for methanol-fuelled ships for delivery in 2025 to 2026.

Based on similar recent orders, 8,000-teu newbuild prices are in the region of $95m each.

A spokesperson for HMM told The Loadstar: “HMM is considering a range of options according to its medium-to-long term strategy, which includes building up its fleet to 1.2m teu by 2026, from  820,000 teu.”

In July, HMM ordered three 1,800 teu ships from HHI subsidiary Hyundai Mipo at $35.5m each for delivery in 2024, and last year split orders for a dozen 13,000 teu ships equally between HHI and DSME.

Methanol is one of the fuel options several shipowners are considering to comply with the global target of decarbonisation by 2050, as it is thought to be easier to store and transport than LNG.

Ships in the 7,000-8,000 teu range have been sought after by various operators looking to increase capacity in mid-haul lanes, such as the Far East-Persian Gulf.

This week, container shipping consultancy Alphaliner noted that liner operators were planning more newbuild orders, despite the orderbook comprising more than 30% of the active fleet and freight rates rapidly evaporating from historical peaks.

Taiwan’s Evergreen is thought to be looking for a new series of ships in the 15,000 to 17,000 teu range, and compatriot Yang Ming launched a tender in September five five to ten 15,000 teu LNG-fuelled ships, but has yet to decide on a shipbuilder.

Municipal officials and social activists in Busan, where HJ Shipbuilding is based, are reportedly lobbying for HMM’s business after emerging from a creditor-led debt restructuring in late 2021. A consortium led by construction firm Dongbu Corp acquired a 66.85% stake in the shipbuilder from its main creditor, Korea Development Bank.

HJ is now building six 5,500 teu ships for German tonnage provider MPC Container Ships, but has yet to win orders for larger vessels. In April, it unveiled designs for 7,700 teu LNG-fuelled ships, hoping to attract orders.

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