Singapore's NOL Group has announced an order for ten 8,400-TEU ships to be delivered in 2013 and 2014 from South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, as well as signing a letter of intent to buy two 10,700-TEU vessels all for a total of US$1.2 billion.
Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) said it is investing in new ships, to be operated by its container shipping line APL, to meet future growth needs and to replace vessels with charter agreements that expire in the next few years. NOL follows Evergreen Group in ordering ships, as container lines take advantage of lower vessel prices the result of a two-year downturn. NOL container volumes have risen 39 per cent in the first half as US and European consumer demand revives.
"There couldn't be a better time for financially stable companies to invest," Seoul-based Heungkuk Securities research chief Cho In Karp told Bloomberg. "Shipping lines will pay a lot less for new vessels if they order now." NOL last signed contracts for new vessels in June 2007, when it ordered eight 10,000-container ships. The order was Daewoo's first for containership order in two years, according to the Shipping Gazette.