Cosco gets approval for 25,000 TEU ship design, but will it be built?

4th April 2019

A COSCO ship design subsidiary has completed designs for a record-breaking nominal capacity 25,000 TEU ship. Shanghai Ship and Shipping Research Institute ( SSSRI ), a unit of COSCO Shipping, has got the design approved by CSSC No.708 Institute, part of the nation’s largest shipbuilding group. According to SSSRI, the development of the new ultra large containership meets the requirements of the government’s China Manufacturing 2025 strategic plan and ties in with the country’s Belt and Road initiative. 

An official at SSSRI said COSCO is still studying the market and no newbuilding order has been planned yet. The latest results from MarPoll show 59 per cent of readers believe the ordering frenzy for ultra large container vessels is now over. Speaking at TPM in early March, the giant container conference in Long Beach, Søren Skou, the CEO of AP Moller-Maersk, questioned the need for nominal capacity 25,000 TEU ships. Skou said Maersk’s investments going forward would be elsewhere rather than on so-called “Megamaxes”, a ship type he likened to Airbus’s A380 aircraft, which has proven to not be a commercial success.  

Maersk’s partner on the 2M vessel sharing agreement, MSC, is readying to take on a series of record-breaking nominal capacity 23,000 TEU ships shortly. Andy Lane, director of Asia for SeaIntelligence Maritime Analysis, also questioned whether COSCO should push ahead with this record breaking boxship move.“ This would appear to be a risky move, at times when long-haul demand continues to soften,” adding: “The slot cost saving of a nominal 25,000 TEU capacity ship versus one of a nominal 20,000 TEU capacity is minimal, all other things being equal. With some of that value being eroded by the additional three days per rotation of in-port time, reduced service offerings and risk of poorer utilisation levels.” ( Splash 24/7).