TAIWANESE shipping line Yang Ming Marine Transport (YM) wants to increase the proportion of owned capacity in its fleet, from the current 30 per cent to 45 per cent, in an effort to reduce costs.
Speaking at the shipping line's annual press conference, chairman Bronson Hsieh, said ship acquisitions will be considered when operating conditions improve. "With more owned ships, we can reduce our chartering costs and our overall condition will be better," he said.
Alphaliner records show that, YM, the world's eighth largest carrier, operates 91 ships of a combined 599,068TEU, including 49 chartered ships, but the owned capacity is just 187,275 TEU.
Mr Hsieh's comments coincide with YM's redelivery of two 4,250TEU ships, YM Eminence and YM Elixir, to First Ship Lease Trust (FSL Trust), in the past month, after a 12-year charter. A sister unit's charter, YM Enhancer also from FSL Trust, will expire later this year, reports Container News, Jacksonville.
Mr Hsieh indicated that YM was unlikely to build mega container ships, although the company is the only member of THE Alliance that does not own vessels larger than 14,200TEU. "The term 'big players are evergreen' is circulating in the industry and I don't fully agree. In a good environment, it's reasonable for a shipping company to make more money with large ships, but when the environment isn't good, having a super-large container ship is not necessarily better."
A spokesperson for YM told Container News that the company has ordered ten 2,800TEU ships, while Shoei Kisen Kaisha and Costamare are building fourteen 11,000-12,000TEU ships for long-term charter to the company. The newbuildings will be delivered from 2020 to 2022.
The spokesperson said: "The 11,000 TEU ships offer flexible configuration and can be deployed on Asia-Europe, Transpacific, Asia-Middle East and Asia-South America routes. Unlike very large ships, these vessels can transit the Panama Canal."
Having an owned feeder fleet is key to developing YM's short-sea businesses, said the spokesperson.