The last couple of years have been very good to the world's shipping companies. Rates went through the roof and vessel values rocketed. The companies, awash in cash, ordered scads of new ships and some companies hoovered up used ships to meet demand.
With conditions returning to pre-COVID status, rates are now dropping and demand is down. Shipyards are starting to deliver the new ships and ship owners, as expected, will soon be shedding older ships - many to the scrap yards.
One line, Hapag-Lloyd, has announced that they will be sending three ships to the breakers. All three were built to Lloyd's Ice Class 1A and designed for year round service between Europe and the St.Lawrence River. Now approaching 25 years of age, they would require costly refits to keep them in operation.
The ships were built with relatively shallow draft and greater width than most ships. The designs compensated for restrictive drafts on the St.Lawrence while maintaining capacity. (Unlike conventional ships on the service, which frequently call in Halifax to reduce draft or top up to ocean draft.)
To my knowledge none of the three ships has called in Halifax. They are:
> Milan Express 33,622 gt, 33,659 dwt, built in 1996 by Samsung, Geoje, and capacity of 2330 to 2499 TEU (depending on source.)
Originally named OOCL Canada it became Cast Premier in 2003, Cielo di Los Angelese in 2005, CP Los Angeles in 2005 and Milan Express in 2006.
> Ottawa Express built in 1998 by Daewoo SB + ME Co Ltd, Okpo, 39,174 gt, 40,879 dwt, with a capacity of 2808 or 2992 TEU (depending on source).It was built as CP Honour and renamed in 2006.
> And Mississauga Express the former CP Pride to 2006 built to the same spec by Daewoo SB+ME, also in 1998: 39,174 gt, 40,881 dwt and 2808 TEU. (no photo available).
There was another sister ship in the Daewoo series. OOCL Belgium, also built in 1998 and 39,174 gt, 40,972 dwt with a capacity of 2808 TEU including 200 reefers. It was also built to ice class 1A and for year round St.Lawrence service.
OOCL Belgium off Cap-aux-Oies, QC, August 24, 2017.
OOCL Belgium was re-assigned by OOCL some time ago and has most recently been reported operating in China and Malaysia. There has been no word on its future, but it seems likely to continue operating for at least five more years as it just passed its latest survey early in May. In 2017 the giant Chinese company COSCO Shipping purchased the Hong Kong based OOCL (Orient Overseas Container Line).