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  28th February 2011 - STAR MARITIME
 

Maersk: New orders to meet growing demand

PETALING JAYA: Maersk Line, which recently ordered ten of the world’s largest container ships valued at US$190mil each, sees the new orders as in line with the demand on the Asia to Europe trade that is expected to increase between 5% and 8% annually in the next five years.

Maersk Line country manager for Malaysia and Singapore Bjarne Foldager said they ordered about 10 of the Triple-E vessels because they were the largest and the most efficient container ships.

“Triple-E will make us even more competitive as it will drive down our unit cost and sustain our carbon leadership position. Expectations for demand on the Asia to Europe trade is an increase of 5% to 8% per year from 2011to 2015.

“By introducing these ships from 2013, we will be able to meet the increasing demand and maintain our market share,” he told StarBiz.

Maersk Line announced on Feb 25 that it had signed a contract with Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd to build 10 of the world’s largest and most efficient vessels, scheduled for delivery between 2013 and 2015 with an option for an additional 20 vessels.

Each of the Triple-E is 400m long, 59m wide and 73m high, making it the largest vessel of any type.

Its 18,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) capacity is 16% greater or 2,500 containers more than the largest container vessel at present, the Emma Mærsk.

On this year’s outlook, Foldager said the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group saw strong potential in growth markets, where the number of middle-income consumers was booming.

“In 2011, the group will focus the main part of our attention and investments in these markets, where we already have a strong presence.

“We expect a 6%-8% increase in global demand this year, and expect to achieve a satisfactory 2011 result below the 2010 result,” he said.

Commenting on last year’s performance, Foldager said the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group delivered a profit of US$5bil due to increased competitiveness and a rebound in the global economy.

“It’s the best profit ever, and we are very satisfied. Markets have improved in 2010, but container rates and volumes have only returned to pre-crisis level. This means that the record profit is first and foremost due to the efforts of the entire organisation to increase our competitiveness.

“For our container business, Maesk Line delivered a profit of US$2.6bil in 2010 compared with a loss of US$2.1bil in 2009

“We expect a 6% to 8% increase in global demand this year, and (expect) to achieve satisfactory results this year,” he said.

On freight rates, Foldager said currently rates were at a reasonable level and did not foresee major imbalances in demand and capacity.

“But markets are volatile and rate development for the rest of this year is uncertain.

“Still, our assessment is that the industry will continue to behave rationally and we don’t foresee major slumps in rates.

“We see long term growth in the Asia-Europe trade from the higher penetration of Asian goods in the European market, and the newly ordered Triple-E vessels are meant for this trade,” he said.

Elaborating on some of the specifications of the Triple-E, Foldager said this new breed of container vessels would emit 20% less carbon dioxide per container moved compared with the most efficient container vessel operating today and 50% less than the industry average for vessels operating on the Asia- Europe trade.

“One major reason for its superior efficiency is what is happening in the Triple-E’s engine room. The Triple-E is designed for a top speed of 23 knots, compared with Emma Mærsk’s top speed of 25 knots.

“That tiny difference in maximum speed lowers the power output needed from the engine by 19%, which allows for slower revolutions in its engines and far greater fuel economy,” he said.

He added that the Triple-E also has two slow running engines and two large propellers, a combination called “twin skeg”.

   
 

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