Seaspan Corp is returning to the container ship newbuilding market with a vengeance after staying away from the sector for nearly three years.

The tonnage provider has inked 10 newbuildings worth $1.58bn against long-term charter contracts, some sources say.

Other shipbuilding experts believe the effort may presently be at the letter of intent stage.

Shipbuilding sources said Seaspan would contract the vessels at two Chinese shipyards — state-owned Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding and private Yangzijiang Shipbuilding.

It is said to be working with CSSC shipyard for six LNG dual-fuelled 13,000-teu vessels and Yangzijiang for four methanol dual-fuelled 9,000-teu ships.

Seaspan is said to be ordering the 13,000-teu series against a charter contract from Singapore’s Ocean Network Express and the methanol dual-fuel 9,000-teu ships against another with AP Moller-Maersk.

Details of the charters have yet to emerge, but boxship players believe the newbuildings are fixed out on a long-term basis.

Maersk declined to comment and Seaspan and ONE have yet to respond to requests seeking clarification.

Seaspan is expected to pay at least $180m each for the LNG dual-fuelled 13,000-teu newbuildings, while the Yangzijiang ships likely to cost about $125m a piece.

Sources said the design of the 9,000-teu vessels is the same as the six newbuildings that Maersk has on order at the shipyard.

The Danish liner giant ordered the sextet in June last year for a reported $115m each. The deal included options for four additional vessels, which the company did not exercise.

Shipbuilding sources said Seaspan will likely start taking delivery of the 13,000-teu vessels between early 2027 and 2028 and the 9,000-teu newbuildings are scheduled for delivery between the second half of 2027 and 2028.

Officials at Hudong-Zhonghua and Yangzijiang declined to comment when contacted.

If the orders at Hudong-Zhonghua and Yangzijiang are confirmed, they will be Seaspan’s first boxship newbuilding deals since the summer of 2021.

The company, known as a container ship tonnage provider, did not order any newbuildings in 2022 or 2023 as liner companies were cash-rich and ordered new vessels themselves.

Seaspan then turned to the hot car-carrier segment and contracted eight 10,800-ceu pure car/truck carrier newbuildings against charter contracts from Hyundai Glovis.

Six are being built at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding for 2026 and 2027 delivery and the remaining two are at Guangzhou Shipyard International for 2027 delivery.

Seaspan is believed to be paying around $120m each for the LNG dual-fuel vessels and has chartered out the newbuildings for 20 years.

The 10,800-ceu newbuildings marked Seaspan’s debut in the car-carrier sector.

Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network shows Seaspan is also due to take delivery of four neopanamaxes of 16,000 teu and 14 sub-panamax vessels of 7,000 teu from Chinese shipbuilders.

Swiss giant MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has chartered the 16,000-teu ships, while five 7,164-teu vessels on order at SWS are fixed out to ONE. The remaining nine 7,000-teu boxships at Yangzijiang are employed by Israeli container line Zim.

According to SIN, Seaspan has a fleet of 176 container ships on the water.

Ian Lewis and Eric Martin contributed to this story.

This article has been updated since first publication to reflect information that the negotiations may be at the letter of intent stage rather than final contracts.

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