Wan Hai 323
Photo: Wan Hai Lines

Taiwanese liner operator Wan Hai Lines has bought two China United Lines 7,000 teu newbuildings at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding.

Wan Hai said, in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, it would pay $176m to $188m for the two ships, which are expected to be delivered in this year.

The newbuilding price was not disclosed, but was estimated at $82.5m per vessel, meaning CULines could at best, make a profit of up to $11.5m on each.

Wan Hai has said it planned to expand its fleet, given the renewed surge in freight rates. In Q1, its revenue rose 8% year on year, to $863.8m, with a net profit of $144.6m, reversing the net loss of $69.4m in Q1 23.

Last week, during Wan Hai’s AGM, GM Tommy Hsieh said: “We have been exploring newbuildings, both large and feeder vessels, that will run on alternative energy sources. Transpacific services are now our largest profit contributors, and we have been invited by other operators to join vessel-sharing agreements for Asia-Europe lanes. However, we think it’s too late to start a European service this year.”

Mr Hsieh said he was optimistic about the rest of 2024, and pointed out that there was a serious shortage of containers in the market and that the company had taken delivery of 261,100 new boxes since 2021.

He said Wan Hai owned 85% of its deployed containers, and claimed the company was not being badly affected by the widely reported equipment shortage.

He said: “We estimate that by the end of June, all newly built ships can plug the capacity shortage, particularly for Asia-Europe services. In Q1 , US container imports grew 23% and this growth has continued. I don’t know if this is related to the US imposing additional tariffs on imports from China.

“Given the growth rate this year, the traditional peak season of the third quarter is still promising.”


Listen to the recent episode of The Loadstar News in Brief Podcast to get a bite-sized recap of last week’s supply chain news:

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