DSME announced the order without naming the buyer but two people familiar with the matter said Geneva-based MSC took up options from the 11-ship order it placed in 2017. The new ships are due for delivery in 2021.
The ships likely will be deployed on the Asia-to-Europe trade lane and will be able to move 23,000 containers each. The route is the world's busiest ocean container lane and carriers including MSC, AP Moller-Maersk and China's Cosco Shipping Holdings Ltd use their biggest vessels there, reports The Wall Street Journal.
'Container volumes from Asia to Europe rose 4.6 per cent year on year from January to August while the fleet of new very large container ships [vessels that move more than 10,000 boxes] has grown 12 per cent,' said Jonathan Roach, an analyst at Braemar ACM Shipbroking.
'With a weak European economic backdrop, combined with a very large container ship fleet expansion programme, freight rate deflation has become difficult to avoid.'
Taiwan's Evergreen Marine Corp last week ordered six ships of the same capacity as the MSC vessels from Samsung Heavy Industries Co, another Korean yard, for around $920 million. French shipping giant CMA CGM, the world's fourth-largest shipping line, in August took delivery of the first of nine 23,000-box vessels it has ordered.
Container ships move the vast majority of international trade of manufactured goods like cars, furniture, home appliances, food, clothing and electronics.
Trade disputes between the US, China and Europe have put the brakes on global economic growth, and the International Monetary Fund projects the world economy in 2019 is on course for its weakest year of growth since the financial crisis.