Sinokor's 5,047 teu Felixstowe Bridge. Photo: VesselFinder

Sinokor Merchant Marine, South Korea’s largest non-listed shipping company, has ordered 8,000 teu ships for the first time.

The company, through subsidiary Sinokor Line, usually operates intra-Asia services using ships of up to 4,000 teu, and functions as a tonnage provider of vessels up to around 6,000 teu.

Sinokor has confirmed orders for a dozen newbuildings at Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering, whose shipyards include Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD). The orders comprise six 8,000 teu vessels, four  at 2,800 teu and two of 1,000 teu.

HMD, which also won orders for four 2,500 teu ships from Sinokor in February, is expected to build the smaller vessels.

A Sinokor representative said the 8,000 teu ships could be assigned to its Far East-India service, which currently deploys 4,000 teu vessels, boosting its capacity on the tradelane. The company is the 20th largest liner operator, with 108,063 teu of capacity.

In recent weeks, there has been a surge of orders for 7,000-8,000 teu vessels from liner operators and tonnage providers, including China United Lines, Regional Container Lines, Danaos and Eastern Pacific Shipping. Such ships are suitable for deployment on the East Asia-Persian Gulf/India route.

The Sinokor representative said, “We also don’t rule out the possibility of finding a long-term charterer for the ships, it all depends on market conditions at delivery time.”

The newbuilds will cost $98m for the 8,000 teu ships, $43m for the 2,800 teu ships and $25.5m for the 1,000 teu ships. Deliveries are expected in H2 24 for the 8,000 and 2,800 teu ships and early 2024 for the 1,000 teu ships.

Like other liner and feeder operators, Sinokor has been expanding its orderbook as freight rates continue to rise. Sinokor has 32 ships on order, which will add up to 103,696 teu to its fleet.

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