South Korea’s K Shipbuilding (formerly STX Shipbuilding & Marine), which was acquired and renamed by South Korean private equity fund KHI, continues to receive orders. According to Korean industry news, South Korea’s K Shipbuilding has recently received an order for eight 8,000TEU-class LNG-powered dual-fuel neo-Panamax container ships, with a total contract value of about US$1.04 billion. This is also the second type of environmentally friendly ship product launched by K Shipbuilding.
It is reported that these new ships were ordered by K Shipbuilding for the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the world’s largest container shipping company, and Seaspan Corporation, the world’s largest independent container ship owner. The eight new ships are scheduled to be delivered to shipowners in the second half of 2024 and in 2025.
Previously, on May 18, Seaspa announced the order to build 4 ultra-modern 7700TEU dual-fuel container ships and signed a long-term charter contract with a leading global container shipping company. The 4 new ships will begin to perform the charter after delivery. Although Seaspan did not disclose the specific information of the shipyard and the charterer at the time, it is said that the order was undertaken by K Shipbuilding, and the new ships will be leased to MSC.
According to industry insiders in South Korea, Neo-Panamax container ships with a loading capacity of 8,000-15,000 TEU are the most active ship types in the shipbuilding market in recent years. This type of ship can pass through the expanded Neo-Panama Canal and has a relatively wide range of operating routes. It is mainly configured in the Far East to Europe routes, Pacific routes, and some North-South routes. In 2021, a total of 541 new container ships of 4.194 million TEU were traded around the world, of which 172 neo-Panamax container ships accounted for 2.51 million TEU, accounting for 59.8%, while 22 super-Panamax container ships above 17,000 TEU accounted for 525,000 TEU, accounting for 59.8%. Only 12.5%.
It is reported that the eight 8,000TEU-class LNG-powered dual-fuel container ships are the first container ship orders undertaken by K Shipbuilding since its name change in July last year, and it is also the first time that the company has built LNG-powered container ships. In January this year, K Shipbuilding and Donghwa Entec, a Korean marine equipment manufacturer, signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop an 8,000TEU-class LNG-powered container ship. The two parties will build a cooperation system through technological development in the field of shipbuilding and marine, and strengthen their competitiveness in the field of medium-sized environmentally friendly ships.
K Shipbuilding received the first order for LNG dual-fuel powered ships in September last year, officially entering the environmental protection ship market. At that time, K Shipbuilding and the Dutch Louis-Dreyfus Company (LDC) signed a construction contract for 1+1 50,000-ton LNG-powered dual-fuel MR product oil/chemical tanker, with a single ship cost of about 4,600 yuan. The first ship will be delivered in the second quarter of 2024. This is the first time that K Shipbuilding has signed a new building contract for a dual-fuel-powered ship, and it is also the first dual-fuel-powered ship of the Louis Dreyfus Group.
In addition to continuously developing the environmentally friendly ship market, K Shipbuilding also plans to enter the field of smart ships and even autonomous ship construction. In October last year, K Shipbuilding and Norway’s Kongsberg Digital signed a digital technology cooperation business intent agreement (MOU). The two parties will share and apply the intelligent shipbuilding technology and the intelligent ship platform technology of the core technology of autonomous ships. The head of K Shipbuilding technology department said that this provides the company with an opportunity to narrow the gap with large shipbuilding enterprises in the field of digital technology. The company will transform into a shipbuilding enterprise that builds intelligent autonomous ships through continuous future environmental protection technology development. (Wang Chu)