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Evergreen splashed out on containers again

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TOKYO : Evergreen Marine Corporation has ordered 12,500 containers from Singamas Container Holdings for US$34.3 million, as the Taiwanese liner operator works towards expanding its business, despite the weak market conditions.

In January, Evergreen’s General Manager Eric Hsieh unveiled plans to order 40,000 more containers – after having spent US$51.53 million on 9,800 new dry containers and 6,171 used boxes from Evergreen’s Singapore subsidiary in 2022. Last year, Evergreen also spent US$65.24 million to buy 7,800 reefers from Dong Fang International Container.

Evergreen also purchased its Singapore unit’s office for US$32 million to operate its own agency in the South-east Asian city-state, as the group expects delivery of 51 ships over the next two years.

Hsieh appeared to have been optimistic because of the pick-up in freight rates just before the Chinese New Year holiday, saying that Evergreen vessels on the Transpacific were fully loaded and lines attempted to impose a general rate increase (GRI) of US$1,000-$2,000 per FEU that month.

Hsieh had acknowledged there were long-running concerns about overcapacity. Alphaliner has forecast container shipping supply to grow by about 8% in 2023, with demand rising by just 2.7%. He said then, “We aren’t worried by the recent correction in container freight rates and we’re sticking to our expansion plans to boost our competitiveness.”

However, Hsieh thinks that stricter environmental regulations, such as the need for owners and operators to start meeting the requirements of the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII), could remove about 10% of capacity from the market. The tonnage overhang therefore “may not be as serious as imagined”.

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