Greek shipowner Evangelos Marinakis is set to splash more than $1.3bn on 10 LNG dual-fuel midsize container ship newbuildings in China.

Marinakis’ Capital Group is said to have struck a provisional contract with New Times Shipbuilding for the 8,000-teu vessels to be delivered between early 2027 and 2028.

If confirmed, the deal would mark the company’s first boxship newbuilding order in two years.

For New Times, the deal would underpin a push to increase its capacity for early-delivering ships, with a new dry dock to accommodate the newbuildings being a prerequisite of any contract.

Capital did not respond to TradeWinds’ request for comment on the deal, which came in a week when Marinakis was celebrating as Olympiacos, the Greek football team he owns, lifted the UEFA Europa Conference League trophy.

Shipbuilding players believe the order is speculative as there has been no mention of charterers being lined up.

One container ship expert said these vessels will be in high demand as they are viewed as the future workhorses of the sector, with their flexibility enabling them to operate in routes from Far East Asia to the Middle East, transatlantic north-south trades and regions including Africa and Latin America.

Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network shows Capital has 42 dual-fuel newbuildings booked, including VLCCs, suezmaxes, LR2s, LNG carriers, very large ammonia carriers and midsize LPG ships.

Evangelos Marinakis after Olympiacos won the UEFA Europa Conference League

“We are particularly happy and proud. For so many years, 99 years, the people of Olympiacos have sung about a crazy dream. About a European title. Since I was young and traveled, I have memories of seeing kids who had come from all over the world, leaving sad, crying over some unlucky moments, some bad moments, whether it was in Italy, Athens, Piraeus, the Olympic Stadium, England, Spain.

“When I took over Olympiacos, because you can’t say ‘when I bought Olympiacos’… Olympiacos can’t be bought, it’s something huge, it’s an idea. So, when I got involved with Olympiacos, my dream was to see those kids happy. Because they deserve it for all these trips, for all these moments. And to make a great European run.

“Today, therefore, it is not a crazy dream, it is a reality. Here in Greece, on Greek soil. I want to say that we had good hospitality in Nea Filadelfeia from everyone, and I want to thank them for that. Today, all of Greece will celebrate; it was something we owed to all Greeks.”

Source: Olympiacos

The company is said to have ordered the vessels as part of its fleet renewal strategy of adding ships with lower carbon footprints.

Capital was said to have started its “green revolution” fleet transition programme six years ago.

The company is estimated to have ordered about 80 newbuildings, costing close to $9.5bn in total, with delivery dates extending from 2020 through to 2028.

Based in Jiangsu province, New Times has three dry docks and has delivered ore carriers of 325,000 dwt and VLCCs.

The shipyard is sitting on a huge orderbook and “like most good shipyards in China is fully booked until the end of 2027”, brokers said.

But sources said New Times had been selling early 2027 slots as it planned to expand its capacity by constructing a new dry dock.

New Times reportedly submitted its new dry dock plan to the provincial government and is awaiting approval.

Sources indicate that China is monitoring its shipbuilding capacity closely, as Beijing aims to avoid the over expansion experienced during the shipbuilding boom two decades ago.

“We think there is a good chance that New Times will get the green light to build the new dry dock. Otherwise, it won’t be reserving early-delivery slots for owners,” said one shipbuilding player.

An official at New Times said he was unaware of Capital’s boxship deal or the yard’s new dry dock.

Clarksons’ SIN shows New Times has around 100 newbuildings on its orderbook including VLCCs, suezmax tankers, LR2 tankers, neopanamax boxships and MRs.

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