GERMANY's Hapag-Lloyd has taken delivery of two wide-beam 3,500-TEU ships from NileDutch, which will be deployed in the South American trade.
The shipping line announced that it is also chartering two more identical ships from NileDutch's same series, both of which will be deployed together with their sister ships.
The wide-beam design of the hull enables the ships to maintain a comparatively high slot capacity with less draught, providing easy access to shallow water ports, typical of South America.
"These vessels represent an important enhancement of the fleet," said Hapag-Lloyd COO Anthony Firmin.
"We also strengthen our position in an attractive niche market further, such as the cabotage business in South America, where we will be initially deploying the new vessels," he said.
The carrier also revealed plans to charter four more wide-beam ships to operate North Atlantic services between the Mediterranean and Montreal.
These two-year-old, 2,700-TEU vessels will replace existing, older tonnage deployed on the route. They are equipped for sailing through ice and have a comparatively low draught, making them suitable for the St Lawrence River.
Hapag-Lloyd's fleet currently comprises 177 ships with an average age of 7.2 years.