Taiwan’s Wan Hai Lines has picked up a pair of 7,000-teu container ship newbuildings from China United Lines (CU Lines) in a deal worth up to $188m.

The vessels have been acquired from the Chinese operator for between $88m and $94m each, according to a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing.

That marks an increase of up to $23m from their initial order cost two years ago.

CU Lines is listed with two 7,000-teu vessels, Hull Nos H153 and H154, under construction at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding in China.

The mainland company ordered the vessels in February 2022 in a deal worth about $165m. Wan Hai said it was acquiring two vessels of this size from CU Lines for between $176m and $188m.

It had planned to operate the midsize boxships in the long-haul trades between Asia and Europe.

However, the company withdrew from those trades, including Asia-Europe, in January last year.

Since then, CU Lines is believed to have been looking to sell the ships for around a year as they were deemed no longer suited to its purposes.

Alphaliner puts delivery of the ships to Wan Hai in late 2024 and early 2025, although other data sources suggest delivery could have slipped to 2026.

The analyst describes the ships as Sealion 7000-type vessels from the Shanghai Merchant Ship Design & Research Institute, of 80,000 dwt, a length of 272.5m and a beam of 42.80 metres.

They will be fitted with 800 reefer plugs and equipped with exhaust gas scrubbers.

The move comes amid the growing popularity of midsize container vessels in a tight market.

French carrier CMA CGM is reported to have fixed the 7,092-teu Kota Callao (built 2024) for a three-month charter at around $105,000 per day.

It is one of six ships at SWS for Taiwan’s TS Lines.

The vessel will operate on the short contract with CMA CGM before it begins a long-term charter with Singapore’s Pacific International Lines.