Four years after the arrival of the first Triple-E vessel, Maersk Line has now deployed Madrid Maersk, the first of its second-generation Triple-E containerships.
With nearly 2,000 more TEU capacity than the prior generation Triple Es, the 20,568 TEU (nominal capacity) Madrid Maersk has set sail on Maersk Line’s Asia
– Europe service
network, calling the Port of Tianjin in China
on April 27 as its first port on its maiden voyage.
Madrid Maersk is the first to enter service of the 27 new vessels ordered by Maersk Line in 2015.
Maersk Line, who has not taken delivery of any owned new-buildings since July 2015, now has a remaining order book that includes 10 more second-generation Triple-E ships, nine 15,226 TEU H-Class vessels and seven 3,596 TEU ice-class Baltic feeder vessels, all to be delivered through the end of 2018 to replace older and less efficient tonnage.
“Our strategy is to grow in line with our main competitors and we do that through a combination of buying new and used ships, and chartering vessels,” said Søren Toft, Maersk Line chief operating officer, on a post on the company’s website. “These new vessels help modernize our fleet, significantly improve our operational efficiency and will help us achieve our growth ambitions, regardless of short-term economic cycles.”
Maersk Line’s order book corresponds to 11 percent of its current fleet – notably smaller than the industry’s order book of around 15 percent, the carrier said.
“If you look at our current order book and also the capacity we are able to return to charter owners, which is roughly 20 percent, we are in a pretty good position,” Toft said.
“We are expecting to grow this year, and expecting global growth of about 3 percent, but if those things don’t happen we also have a powerful ability to adjust our network to changing conditions in a way that many other shipping lines do not have.”
Maersk Line said it intends to continue “active capacity management” in order to tightly manage fleet capacity. For example, Maersk Line has a relatively high number of vessels on short term charters, enabling flexibility to adjust fleet capacity when new vessels come on-stream. Additionally, Maersk Line recycled seven Panamax vessels in the first quarter of 2017.
“Global growth may pick up this year or not, but these are factors we can’t control,” Toft said. “What we can control is our position as the market leader and cost leader and we strengthen both of those with these new vessels, while continuing to actively manage and optimize our network, improve our utilization and drive down our costs.”