Pan Ocean is building up its boxship fleet again, ordering a pair of 1,800 TEU Bangkokmax ships at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) this month, seven months after contracting a pair of 1,000 TEU ships at Daehan Shipbuilding.
The company, South Korea’s largest dry bulk shipping player, is restoring its container shipping operations after emerging from court protection in 2015.
Upon delivery in 2024, the 1,800 TEU vessels will be deployed on a Vietnam-Thailand service, shuttling between Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok. It is also intended for one of the ships to be pilot tested for autonomous navigation by South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
Pan Ocean said that it has not yet decided whether to open a new service or to assign the newbuildings to existing services that are now using chartered vessels.
Pan Ocean is currently operating one chartered vessel on its Korea Shipping Thailand (KST) service, in conjunction with the Korea Shipping Partnership, an alliance of compatriot container shipping companies, and another chartered ship on its Vietnam Thailand Express service, which is codeshared service with SM Line and Namsung Shipping.
While HMD did not disclose the newbuilding price, recent Bangkokmax newbuildings have been priced around US$30 million each.
In 2018, Pan Ocean had also ordered two Bangkokmax ships at HMD, the first time it had contracted boxships after coming out of court protection, following its acquisition by poultry processor Harim Group. The latter vessels, Pos Bangkok and Pos Ho Chi Minh, built in 2019 and 2020 are serving Pan Ocean’s services connecting South Korea with southern China.