Wan Hai Lines will proceed with orders for four more 13,000TEU Neo-Panamax newbuildings and 50,000TEU in new containers, the carrier revealed on the release of its Q1 2021 results on 11 May.
In March, Wan Hai disclosed plans to commission nine 13,000TEU newbuildings, and made an initial order for five vessels at Hyundai Heavy Industries.
The carrier, primarily an intra-Asia specialist, said that it had not decided where to order the other four ships, but the latest announcement indicates that Wan Hai is close to selecting the shipyard, with the vessels not expected to cost more than US$500 million in total.
The neo-Panamaxes would be deployed on services calling at the US West Coast, the west coast of South America and other mid-haul trades.
In December 2020, Wan Hai earmarked US$360 million to buy second-hand ships and so far, the company has purchased 11 ships.
The remarkable recovery in demand for container shipping has brought record earnings to liner operators, encouraging a newbuilding spree that has pushed the global orderbook to 17% of the active fleet.
Besides newbuildings, Wan Hai has ordered containers from China International Marine Containers, for US$151.88 million, to replace older boxes.
In Q1 2021, Wan Hai’s revenue was up 114% from Q1 2020, to TW$38.62 billion (US$1.37 billion), while net profit was up 157% to TW$14.78 billion (US$526.09 million).
French consultancy Alphaliner stated that Wan Hai profited from a well-timed fleet expansion, earning higher rates on more ships. Wan Hai contracted its fleet from 274,000TEU in early 2020, to 255,000TEU in March 2020. With the subsequent market recovery, the 11th largest liner operator expanded its fleet to 355,000TEU by chartering and purchasing more ships.