<i>YM Triumph</i> and <i>YM Truth</i> (pictured during construction) are the largest boxships to have been built at Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu. (Image: Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group)YM Triumph and YM Truth (pictured during construction) are the largest boxships to have been built at Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu. (Image: Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group)

Taiwan-based liner operator Yang Ming Transport Company has realised the opening stage in an extensive fleet modernisation programme through the commissioning of two Chinese-built containerships of 12,690TEU nominal capacity, writes David Tinsley.

YM Triumph and YM Truth lead a five-ship series booked by boxship charter specialist Costamare from Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu Shipbuilding Co for long-term employment with Yang Ming. The two vessels are being phased into trans-Pacific trade during August under the aegis of the international liner shipping consortium known as THE Alliance. Besides the quintet from the Chinese yard, Yang Ming has made commitments to 19 other newbuilds from various sources for completion over the next two years.

Delivered on 24 July, YM Triumph entered 10-year charter to Yang Ming the following day. The vessel assumed the mantle as the largest boxship ever constructed by Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu, a subsidiary of Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group.

The 12,960TEU class, providing a practical service capacity of 11,000TEU and incorporating 1,000 sockets for reefer boxes, has main dimensions of 332.2m length, 48.2m breadth, and 16m draught. A single two-stroke MAN main engine, an eight-cylinder model of the G95ME-C type, with direct drive to a Nakashima propeller, ensures transits at up to 23 knots. The array of DNV GL notations confirms ‘scrubber ready’ arrangements.

YM Triumph has a twin-island superstructure design arrangement to optimise loading capacity and line-of-sight, navigational visibility. Reflecting the high electrical load imposed by a large complement of boxes for temperature-controlled freight, the vessel has four auxiliary gensets, using proprietary Hyundai medium-speed diesels throughout. Two of the aggregates are driven by seven-cylinder versions of the HiMSEN 32/40 engine, and two have the more powerful eight-cylinder model.

Manoeuvrability is enhanced by a Nakashima bow thruster. The full spade rudder, incorporating a bulb, is of the Becker twisted leading edge type, designed to minimise cavitation at higher speeds and reduce hub vortex losses, improving efficiency.

YM Triumph was phased into the THE Alliance’s PN2 service on July 31, entailing a Singapore-Laem Chabang (Thailand)-Cai Mep (Vietnam)-Haiphong (Vietnam)-Tacoma (USA)-Vancouver (Canada)-Tokyo (Japan)-Kobe (Japan)-Singapore port rotation.

Yang Ming is the only member of THE Alliance that does not contribute vessels in excess of 14,200TEU. The size and configuration of the new generation offers more flexibility as to port access worldwide, and allows deployment on Asia-Europe, Asia-Middle East and Asia-South America as well as trans-Pacific routes. Unlike larger vessels, the YM Triumph type can transit the Panama Canal by virtue of a breadth of 48.2m, within the 49m width parameter imposed by the new locks.

In addition to the five Costamare vessels, Yang Ming has chartered nine similar newbuilds contracted in Japan by Shoei Kisen from Imabari Shipbuilding, plus a series of 10 vessels of 2,800TEU for intra-Asia trade booked to the company’s own account at CSBC’s Kaohsiung yard in Taiwan. As the YM Celebrity and YM Continent, the initial pair from Kaohsiung has recently entered service on a Japan/Taiwan/Hong Kong/China itinerary.

The realisation of the programme as a whole will realise objectives of lowering the fleet’s average age to achieve increased energy efficiency and unit cost reductions, and to proactively cope with future environmental regulations and other challenges facing the shipping industry.

Headquartered in Monaco and of Greek parentage and management, Costamare is one of the world’s leading owners and providers of containerships for charter, and is known for investing counter-cyclically. At the end of June, fleet strength stood at 73 ships totalling approximately 533,000TEU, including the YM Triumph-class newbuilds.

The company has continued to fare well in the face of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Costamare’s chief financial officer Gregory Zikos stated that “During the second quarter, the company delivered strong results. Liquidity stood at around $200 million… On the market side, laid-up capacity has started decreasing, indicating improving market conditions. Demand continues to favour the larger and medium sizes, especially ships above 8,000TEU. Market activity has picked up and we have chartered-in a total 24 ships during the quarter.”


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