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SITC Container Lines is expanding its fleet again, as liner operators continue the race for tonnage.
A spokesperson confirmed to The Loadstar the company had commissioned ten 1,800 teu ships at second-tier Chinese shipbuilder Huanghai Shipbuilding.
Delivery is estimated for 2024 and, while the newbuilding price was not disclosed, a sister vessel commissioned by Chinese furniture maker Loctek Ergonomic Technology cost $32.6m.
SITC’s spokesperson said: “We’re expanding our owned fleet to secure a long-term cost advantage. Chartered ships will be gradually replaced, while we’re also selling older vessels, if there are buyers.”
The line reasons that high charter costs make it more economic to own ships.
The intra-Asia carrier has 36 other newbuildings under construction one 2,700 teu vessel; four of 2,400 teu; ten of 2,600 teu; 11 of 1,800 teu; and ten of 1,023 teu. The first 16 are being constructed by Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, while South Korean yard Dae Sun Shipbuilding & Engineering has the orders for the 1,023 teu ships.
Second-tier shipyards have been grabbing market share as operators and tonnage providers display a seemingly insatiable appetite for boxships in a spree that has seen major shipbuilders fill their berths to 2025.
In March, Shanghai-based intra-Asia carrier Asean Sea Lines booked a pair of 1,800 teu vessels at Huanghai, securing a delivery date of August 2023. SITC may have, therefore, decided on Huanghai to be guaranteed an earlier delivery date.