SOUTH Korea's largest container carrier Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has confirmed it is inviting offers from shipyards for a series of 20 'eco-friendly mega containerships,' 12 with capacity to carry more than 20,000 TEU and eight with 14,000-TEU of capacity, as part of its plan to grow its fleet's carrying capacity to 1 million TEU.
HMM sent out a request for proposal (RFP) to shipbuilding companies - Hyundai Heavy Industries Co, Samsung Heavy Industries Co and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co - for the ships that will feature either scrubbers or LNG propulsion. Industry insiders estimate that the entire deal could be worth around KWR3 trillion (US$2.81 billion).
HMM will select a shipbuilder or a couple of builders by June, the company said in a statement, as reported by South Korea's news agency, Yonhap.
The 20,000 TEU container ships will be used on the Asia-North America routes and the eight 14,000 TEU container ships will be operated on routes to the east coast of the United States, it said.
The company added that Korea Ocean Business Corp, a company the South Korean government plans to launch in July, will finance 90 per cent of the costs of newbuilding and HMM will take the remaining 10 per cent.
HMM currently has a fleet with a capacity of 342,613 TEU - 12 owned containerships with 107,419 TEU of capacity and 53 chartered containerships with capacity of 235,194 TEU - and two 11,000-TEU ships on order, according to Alphaliner's list of the 100 largest container carriers. An HMM spokeswoman noted the company has also chartered ships with about 100,000 TEU of capacity to 2M carriers.