Container ship tonnage provider Costamare has cancelled an order for six neo-panamaxes to be built in China.

The New York-listed company has served notice to terminate contracts with an unnamed yard for two 12,690-teu and four 15,000-teu vessels.

The move means the company has cancelled orders for eight boxships in the series that were ordered last December.

In March, it ripped up a contract for two 12,690-teu vessels that were part of the deal.

The company followed that up on 16 May with the termination of the contracts for the remaining six vessels, according to a statement filed with the US Securities & Exchange Commission.

No reason was given for the cancellation of the six ships, which were ordered on the back of long-term charters to an unidentified liner operator.

But in March, Costamare attributed the termination of the first two ships “to default by the shipyard”.

No more newbuilds

Costamare now has no container ships on order.

When it ordered the eight vessels in December, they were the company’s first newbuildings in three years.

Shipbroking sources at the time linked the order with Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu Shipbuilding, where Costamare had placed its previous newbuilding contract in 2018.

Some observers speculated that rising prices may have been a factor in the cancellation, and there are signs that the delivery date was being pushed back.

When Costamare ordered the vessels, they were scheduled for delivery between the third quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.

Three months later, delivery of the six remaining vessels had slipped to the first and third quarters of 2024.

According to Alphaliner estimates, the eight cancelled contracts have removed 111,000 teu from the global vessel orderbook, which now stands at 6.74m teu.

The 15,000-teu ships were to have been the largest container vessels in Costamare’s fleet, which today comprises 76 ships from 1,078 teu to 14,424 teu.

In March, Costamare announced the best annual earnings in its 47 years, with net income hitting $404m in 2021.