AP Moller-Maersk signed the order in Copenhagen today with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. It is thought to be one of the largest single newbuilding orders ever placed by the Danish line.
The vessels, to be delivered between 2010 and 2012, will have a nominal capacity of 7,450 teu and be equipped with 1,700 reefer plugs. This is the highest number ever carried on a container vessel.
The world’s largest containerships, Maersk’s Emma Maersk and its sisters, have 1,000 plugs each, while a series purpose-built for the Europe-Australasia trades a few years ago, and described as the world’s largest reefer ships with more capacity than a conventional vessel, had 1, 300 plugs.
Maersk’s newbuildings are designed for the trades to and from the east coast of South America. Each will be equipped with a waste heat recovery system.
Maersk Line plans to deploy the 16 vessels in the trades between the east coast of South America and Asia and Europe. “We expect a continued strong growth in these markets; we believe that this order shows our long-term commitment to providing service and support to our customers’ increasing business in the aforementioned trades,” said senior vice president Michel Deleuran, Head of Network and Product in Maersk Line.
The order follows another for 18 containerships of 4,500 teu capacity that Maersk placed with Hyundai Heavy Industries in June.
Commenting on the latest, Maersk said the trade between the east coast of South America and Europe was primarily driven by the export of food products such as poultry, meat, and fruit transported in refrigerated containers.
Since 2002, the trade has grown 15% on a yearly average. This growth is expected to remain