Germany's Hapag-Lloyd is about to join mega ship club

Hapag-Lloyd is reportedly close to signing a deal to significantly expand its fleet with 20,000-teu ships
Hapag-Lloyd's current largest ships are the 13,166-teu class 'Express' ships
Hapag-Lloyd's current largest ships are the 13,166-teu class 'Express' ships

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The CEO of the German shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd has hinted that the company may be getting ready to join the 20,000-teu club started by G6 alliance members OOCL and MOL.

While making clear that no decision had yet been made in terms of ordering such container ships, CEO, Rolf Habben Jansen, told German media this week that the cost advantage of 20,000-teu ships is so great that they will replace older, smaller mainliners fast.

A spokesperson for Hapag-Lloyd has said that a decision will likely be taken toward the end of the year, but sources with the carrier have indicated that discussions with various South Korean shipyards are already underway.

Any ship order involving 20,000-teu container ships would be a major step change for Hapag-Lloyd, the largest container carriers in the fleet at present are the 13,166-teu ‘Express’ class, led by Hamburg Express.

Hapag-Lloyd will therefore need to decide whether there is the forecast demand to meet such growth in capacity, especially considering that its alliance partners OOCL and MOL have ordered six and four 20,000-teu ships this year respectively.

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