THALASSA HELLAS (13,806 teu) heralds Evergreen’s move into the ULCS league

The Greek Lemos Group and its ship management company Enesel S.A. have taken delivery of the THALASSA HELLAS, the first in a series of ten 13,806 teu container vessels for Evergreen Marine.

Built at Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea, the delivery of the new vessel does not only mark Evergreen’s first foray into the ultra-large boxship league, but also Lemos’ entry into the container sector. Until now, the shipowner had focused on the drybulk and tank markets.

So far, the Evergreen had been traditionally conservative when it comes to the size of its container vessels. Pushed by the need to reduce overall unit costs however, and pulled by low newbuilding prices, Evergreen finally succumbed to the allure of ultra-large boxships in July 2012, when the carrier joined forces with the Greek non-operating owner to order a series of ten neo-overpanamax container ships.

In terms if timing, Evergreen and Lemos-Enesel got it all right and the conservatism paid off. The Greek shipowners were able to twist Hyundai’s arm and ordered the ten newbuildings at a reported price of USD 110 million (earlier reports indicated USD 116.50 million) per vessel, compared to the USD 130.00 million that NOL paid one year earlier for a series of ten Hyundai-built ships with very similar parameters – not to mention pre-crisis orders, which were again much more expensive.

The bargain price allowed Lemos-Enesel and Evergreen to agree upon ten-year time charter contracts at a reported rate of only USD 49,300 per day.

Furthermore, the THALASSA HELLAS and her sisters have been designed and built with slow-steaming in mind and they are expected to have a daily fuel consumption of under 175 tonnes at design speed.

Somewhat unusually, Evergreen has decided to operate the new ships under their Greek proforma names, rather than under a more common carrier name prefixed with ‘Ever’.

The THALASSA HELLAS will phase into Evergreen’s ‘CEM’ (#2239) Far East to Europe service on the coming weekend, where she will lauch the loop’s gradual upgrade from a fleet of +9,000 teu ships to 13,800 teu ULCS. She will replace the 9,200 teu EVER LEGION, which is pushed into the ‘CES’ (#24) loop. The ‘CEM’ is a joint operation with Hanjin (‘ANN’), but the Taiwanese provide nine out of the service’s ten ships.

As part of the maiden trip, the following ports will welcome the new ship: Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian (Shenzhen), Tanjung Pelepas, Colombo, Rotterdam, Felixstowe, Hamburg, Zeebrugge, Colombo, Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong, Qingdao.

Lemos-Enesel’s second ULCS, the THALASSA PATRIS, is scheduled for delivery in late November. The ship will also join the ‘CES’.

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