Yang Ming ordered newbuildings today, for the first time in five years.

The Taiwanese liner operator signed a long-awaited order for five LNG dual-fuelled 15,000 teu ships from HD Hyundai Heavy Industries for delivery in 2026, a deal worth $850m to $975m.

Yang Ming said the newbuildings were part of its fleet renewal and recently said it company believed a viable supply chain now existed for LNG, compared with alternatives.

The carrier said: “A dedicated desk has been set up to monitor energy efficiency and the development of future marine fuels.”

It added: “These vessels will feature an advanced integrated system for navigational information and operation monitoring, as well as broadband maritime satellite system – technologies integral for collecting navigational big data and enhancing vessel safety.”

Yang Ming’s operating fleet currently comprises 94 vessels, with a capacity of approximately 715,000 teu.

At a unit price of $170m-$195m, newbuilding prices are elevated compared with similar vessels ordered in 2021, like the one Seaspan commissioned at Samsung Heavy Industries which cost $140m.

Yang Ming last ordered newbuildings in August 2018, ten 2,800 teu ships from compatriot shipbuilder CSBC Corp. The previous month, it sealed long-term charter agreements with Japan’s Shoei Kisen Kaisha and Greek tonnage provider Costamare Inc for five 11,000 teu newbuilds and five new 12,000 teu vessels, respectively.

While Yang Ming was criticised for not following its peers in rushing to order ships during the Covid-fuelled boom in 2020 and 2021, chairman Cheng Cheng-mount said the company “had to be prudent” about spending. In 2017, after years of losses, the liner was recapitalised, with the state upping its interest from 33% to 45%.

Yang Ming’s directors approved this week’s order for the 15,000 teu ships in January 2022, but took more than a year to execute it, due to negotiations over price and fuel.

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