Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. has placed a new order for six mega 20,000 teu container ships from South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries Co. for US$951.6 million.
Orient Overseas, controlled by the family of former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, said the container vessels will be delivered in 2017.
The company plans to fund the purchases with a bank loan for up to 70 % of the costs and the remainder funded by its internal resources, a stock filing of the company said on 1 April.
The contract price of each vessel is payable in cash in five equal installments.
The deal marks the container shipping operator's first major fleet expansion in nearly four years, joining bigger global rivals such as Maersk Line, the world's biggest container shipper by fleet size, and China Shipping Container Lines in buying bigger and more fuel-efficient ships as they seek to reduce costs.
In 2014, OOCL took delivery of two 'Mega' class 13,208 teu new vessels. It will also take delivery of four 8,888 teu vessels from Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding in 2015. As part of the re-fleeting plan, one 9-year old and two 11-year old 8,063 teu SX Class vessels were sold and chartered back for a three-year period in 2015.