Elbe 5-2018
Credit Alfred Chang

Korean liner operator Sinokor Merchant Marine has exercised options for six more 1,800 teu ships at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, extending its orderbook there to a dozen vessels.

The options are tied to an initial order Sinokor made for six vessels in May, for delivery in 2022. The additional vessels, reportedly $27m each, are expected to be delivered in 2023 and likely to be deployed on intra-Asia feeder services.

Reportedly the largest privately owned South Korean shipowner, Sinokor owns 50 containerships with a total capacity of 72,680 teu. Including chartered ships, Sinokor’s operating capacity of 111,788 teu makes it the 20th-largest liner operator.

The company has four 1,080 teu ships  due to be delivered from CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding by the end of the year, and four 2,400 teu newbuildings Jiangnan Shipyard will deliver between October and April next year.

Operators have been ordering more ships to boost their owned fleets to counter rising charter costs in the current red-hot container shipping market, pushing the orderbook-to-fleet ratio towards 22%.

Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo told The Loadstar more newbuilding orders could be expected, and added: “Operators are bringing forward vessel order plans to pre-empt price increases and also to secure earlier delivery slots.”

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