Newbuilding deals for more than 50 container ships worth over $7.5bn could be firmed up in the coming months as vessel-hungry lines return to yards.

Shipbuilding sources said the surge in interest in large boxship newbuildings comes after a contracting hiatus of several months with “few enquiries”.

The Red Sea crisis, the European Union’s proposed 2040 emissions target, the recovery of freight rates and strong company earnings are cited as drivers behind the fresh newbuilding push.

CMA CGM, Cosco Shipping Lines, Ocean Network Express, TS Lines, BAL Container Line and Emirates Shipping Lines are all said to be eyeing fresh orders.

Industry players said some large liner companies and regional container companies had approached shipyards for new vessels of more than 10,000 teu.

Sources said some companies such as Cosco Lines are seeking early delivery dates for their container vessels while a few others have indicated they are willing to take delivery of newbuildings slated in 2029.

“Most of the large liner players are seeking dual-fuel vessels while the smaller boxship companies are opting for conventional fuel ships,” one shipbuilding broker said.

Multiple sources cited the example of Cosco Lines in advanced newbuilding discussions with two shipyards.

It is said to be in talks with Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding for 10 ships of 11,000 teu and up to a dozen boxships of 14,000 teu with a subsidiary shipyard — Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry Yangzhou (Cosco HI Yangzhou).

The shipping giant is said to be looking to have the large container ships run on methanol and conventional marine fuels.

Sources said the 11,000-teu vessels will be operated by Orient Overseas Container Line, while the larger vessels will trade under Cosco Lines.

They believe the company will pay between $160m and $170m each for the 11,000-teu vessels and about $200m for the 14,000-teu boxships.

Officials at Cosco Lines have been contacted for comment.

The world’s third-largest liner company, CMA CGM, is said to be enquiring about three sizes of dual-fuel boxships.

Brokers said they understand the French liner giant is seeking up to 12 ships of 14,000 teu and an “unspecified number” of 4,000-teu and 8,000-teu vessels.

CMA CGM’s newbuilding enquiries are said to be in their early stages and the company has not decided if the ships would be equipped with LNG dual-fuel or methanol dual-fuel propulsion.

Taiwan’s TS Lines is said to have inked letters of intent with China’s SWS for two vessels of 7,000 teu and 14,000 teu. The deals included options for two additional ships.

These boxships will be fitted with scrubbers and powered by conventional marine fuel.

Brokers said TS Lines is paying about $150m for the post-panamax boxships and close to $90m for the neo-panamaxes.

SWS is said to be able to deliver the firm vessels from the end of 2027.

Brokers said the newbuilding price for container ships will remain firm as yards are sitting on strong orderbooks. The liner companies are also competing for slots with shipping companies that are keen to order bulk carriers.