United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) intends to duke it out on the Asia-Europe trade lane as it announced it was exercising its final option for one additional 18,000-TEU (20-foot-equivalent unit) vessel.
The decision brings the Middle Eastern conglomerate’s total order to 17 ships, consisting of eleven 14,000-TEU vessels and six 18,000-TEU vessels.
The order has been placed with Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea and is the largest in UASC’s history, worth over US$2 billion for all 17 ships.
“The order features vessels that will be amongst the largest, most technologically advanced, and most environmentally friendly container vessels ever built,” specifically designed to improve cost efficiency, a UASC statement said.
“All of these new ships will enjoy the most advanced fuel economy in the industry including, among others, being delivered as ‘LNG ready,’ a first in the industry for vessels of this size,” it added.
Salem Ali Al Zaabi, chairman of UASC, said the exercise of the final purchase option for one 18,000-TEU vessel will enable the company “to improve its competitiveness in the key trade lane between Asia and Europe where the 18,000-TEU vessels will be deployed.
“UASC is committed to improve its competitive position in all key trades in which it operates and especially in other key trades where the company’s existing 13,500-TEU and under-construction 14,000-TEU vessels will be deployed.”
The deliveries of the 17 vessels are scheduled to begin late this year. The 14,000-TEU box ships are set for delivery from late 2014, while the 18,000-TEU newbuildings will be delivered from the first half of 2015.