Alphaliner: COSCO to surpass CMA CGM after acquiring OOCL fleet, 29 newbuilds

In addition to the absorption of OOCL’s 710,000-TEU fleet and 29 newbuild vessels slated for delivery next year, COSCO Shipping plans to order 20 new container-ships with funds from a nearly $2 billion share sale issued in October. 

Chinese government-owned ocean carrier COSCO Shipping could hit a total fleet capacity of 3 million TEUs by the end of 2018, which would vault it into the third spot in the global liner rankings, surpassing France’s CMA CGM, according to a new report by container analyst Alphaliner.

According to ocean carrier schedule and capacity database BlueWater Reporting, COSCO and Orient Overseas (International) Ltd., which COSCO announced in July that it was purchasing for $6.3 billion, are currently the fourth and seventh largest container carriers worldwide, respectively, in terms of operating fleet capacity.

The growth would come not just from the pending absorption of OOCL’s 710,000-TEU fleet, Alphaliner said, but the construction of 20 new container vessels that COSCO in October issued a nearly $2 billion share sale to finance.

Eleven of the 20 ships being purchased are ultra-large container vessels of between 20,000 and 21,000 TEU expected to cost $140 million each. In total, COSCO has ordered 29 containerships, with the 20 ordered in October including six 21,237 TEU ships; five 20,119 TEU vessels; five 13,800 TEI ships; and four 14,568 TEU vessels.

All are under construction at Chinese shipyards and all are expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2019.

Just eight years ago, COSCO’s total capacity was just 500,000 TEU, but since 2009, the carrier’s scale has been driven upward by a steady influx of newbuilds and 1.4 million TEU brought over from OOCL, as well as contracts for 14 containerships transferred from China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) after it merged with COSCO in 2016.