Global shipping company Maersk Line is set to upgrade its fleet, adding 18 environmentally friendly container vessels.
The company has signed a contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries for the delivery of the vessels, each with a capacity of 4,500 TEU, in 2011 and 2012.
”These vessels are part of our fleet renewal and development program. They will enable us to continue to offer competitive container shipping based on a modern, economical and environmentally friendly fleet,” said senior vice president Michel Deleuran, head of network and product.
Each vessel is fitted with a waste heat recovery system, which generates energy for propulsion or on-board electricity consumption by reusing excess heat from the exhaust. The technology, which an Asian yard will install for the first time, is expected to save fuel and cut emissions.
The ships are tailored to meet the demands for safe and economic operation in regions such as the Eastern Mediterranean, Africa and Latin America.
Mr Deleuran said the company plans to deploy the ships in the trades to and from sub-Saharan Africa, a market that it has been serving for over 40 years with a 25 per cent market share.
“These vessels will support us in that ambition and also show our long term commitment to Africa,” he said.
The sub-Saharan Africa market is growing fast, almost doubling its export and import volumes over the last five years. Seizing the opportunity, the shipping line has extended its business taking on container-related projects including terminals, stevedoring, logistics, warehousing and rail transportation.
“During the last 50 years, container transportation has been a key driver in globalisation. Our business is about connecting the globe and we believe globalisation based on fair and free trade is a winning proposition for sub-Saharan Africa,” Mr Deleuran said.