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OOCL not ruling out mega boxship orders

OOCL not ruling out mega boxship orders
Hong Kong's Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), fresh from good 2014 results and despite having taken full delivery of its biggest 13,208-teu mega class ships last year is not immune from the megabox ship trend and has not ruled out new orders in the upsized 18,000-teu bracket.

Acting cfo Alan Tung said at the results briefing that OOCL is in discussion with its partners in the G6 Alliance on the next round of newbuildings and whether this should include mega boxships.

"We are actively engaged in discussion with our G6 partners about the next round of newbuildings and nothing is finalised yet," he said. Last week Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) became the first member line of G6 to go down the mega-container route ordering six 20,150 teu vessels in South Korea and Japan.

Tung also pointed out that OOCL has a very robust balance sheet and with newbuilding deliveries peaking this year, it is not a bad time to be thinking about capex.

"We are ready and willing and able," he said, emphasizing OOCL's low 28% debt-to-equity ratio and strong balance sheet. Tung also noted that the right size to choose depends on the trade the carrier is involved in. "It goes back to first from our perspective, then from our alliance partners' perspective which part of the market we would like to explore a little bit more," he said, while also remarking that on the Asia-Europe (AE) side OOCL's share is slightly lower as such it would make sense for the company to look at it a bit more. "If we feel AE is the right market for us to look at in terms of the trade mix... then it would make sense to invest in AE, which then means bigger vessels."