Angeliki Frangou-led Navios Maritime Partners is being named as behind an order for up to four container ships contracted in South Korea.

HJ Shipbuilding & Construction said on Thursday it had inked a newbuilding deal for two 7,900-teu vessels at $110m each from an unnamed European shipping company.

The contract includes options for two additional ships that “potentially raise the total contract value to KRW 600bn”, the shipyard said.

HJ Shipbuilding is slated to deliver the 7,900-teu vessels in 2026.

It added that the newbuildings would be methanol-ready and fitted with scrubbers to meet regulations from the International Maritime Organization, allowing for a potential transition to carbon-neutral operations in the future.

“These container ships are also optimised for fuel efficiency and maximum container capacity, incorporating eco-friendly features and complying with the IMO environmental regulations,” said the shipyard.

Shipbuilding sources said that Navios is behind the order.

Navios is an existing client of the South Korean yard and is building two 7,700-teu LNG dual-fuel newbuildings, with delivery at the end of this year.

The US-listed company has chartered out the duo to HMM for 12 years — with an option for two more — at the average net charter rate of $42,288 per day per ship.

The pair were reported to cost Navios about $120m each.

It is not known if the Greek company has lined up employment contracts for its latest newbuildings. Some market players believe HMM is a potential charterer.

Sources added that the contract ended an order drought at HJ Shipbuilding of over a year.

The last newbuilding contract signed by the Busan-based shipyard was in February 2023, when domestic owner HMM ordered two 9,000-teu container ships.

It is unclear why the shipyard has not won any contracts since then, especially considering the robust shipbuilding market.

Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network shows the shipyard only has five container ship newbuildings booked on its orderbook. It is building two vessels each for HMM and Navios and one 5,504-teu ship for MPC Container ships.

The yard said it has been focused on developing eco-friendly ship technologies to promote carbon neutrality. It added that it collaborated with Finland’s Wartsila to successfully develop an onboard carbon capture solution for an 8,500-teu container ship.

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