Evergreen Marine expands capacity

Taipei, April 15 (CNA) The Evergreen Group (????), the largest container shipper in Taiwan, said Wednesday that it has taken delivery of a large-sized vessel to expand its shipping capacity. Evergreen said that it has received an 8,500 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessel from Taiwan-based shipbuilder CSBC Corp. (??), and will deploy the new ship on the route between the Far East and the Red Sea soon. TEUs are use to gauge the size of a container vessel. The new vessel, which has been named Ever Lyric, is the group's 28th 8,500 TEU ship and the eighth built by CSBC. The company's fleet of about 100 vessels with a total of capacity of 980,000 TEUs is the fourth largest in the world. Evergreen said it owns about 55 percent of the 980,000 TEUs, and the remaining 45 percent are chartered by the company. The new vessel is part of Evergreen's capacity expansion program that began in 2010 when it commissioned Samsung Heavy Industries to build 20 8,500 TEU ships, all of which have been delivered. In 2011, Evergreen commissioned CSBC to build an additional 10 8,500 TEU vessels. So far, eight have been received by Evergreen, and CSBC is scheduled to deliver the remaining two in the third quarter of this year. The 8,500 TEU vessels are categorized by Evergreen as L-Type vessels designed to serve long-haul cargo shipping routes. The eco-friendly L-Type vessels were designed to reduce fuel consumption by 12-21 percent, which is expected to not only help Evergreen cut operating costs but also to protect the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the shipper said. Last year, Evergreen signed agreements to charter five 14,000 TEU vessels from Japan-based Shoei Kisen Kaisha Ltd. and an additional five 14,000 TEU vessels from Greece-based Costamare Inc. The 10 vessels will be ready in 2016 and 2017.
In January this year, Evergreen signed an agreement with Shoei Kisen Kaisha to charter eleven 18,000 TEU vessels, which will become available in 2018 and 2019. Analysts said Evergreen is gearing up to boost its capacity amid optimism toward rising demand in international trade as it benefits from falling fuel costs because of a plunge in international crude oil prices. As of 12:10 p.m., shares of Evergreen Marine Corp., the flagship shipping company of the Evergreen Group, was down 1.69 percent at NT$23.30 in Taipei in line with a slide in the broader market. (By Wei Shu and Frances Huang)