Previously, when the freight levels were high, liner operators were reluctant to allow off-hire days in order to maximise earnings.
Now that the situation has reversed, liner operators are more willing to resume maintenance.
At the christening of Wan Hai 331 on 29 March, maintenance work on ships owned by Taiwan’s two largest container lines, Evergreen Marine Corporation and Yang Ming Marine Transport, was visibly carried out.
Wan Hai 331 is the first of four 3,000 TEU ships that CSBC built speculatively and were purchased by compatriot liner operator Wan Hai Lines for US$220 million. All the ships are expected to be delivered by October 2023.
A CSBC executive told Container News, “Ship repair is definitely profitable, and margins are at least 10%. It takes at least three weeks to repair a ship, and in the past two years, when liner operators had incredibly good business, they were loath to send their ships for repairs and maintenance, unless absolutely necessary. Since the second half of last year, container freight rates have been falling and cargo volumes had declined substantially. It was at that time that we started receiving more requests to repair and service container ships.”
Since August 2022, eight Evergreen ships have been entering CSBC’s yard for repairs and maintenance, one after the other. Six of the vessels were themselves built by CSBC, while Yang Ming currently has ships undergoing repair and maintenance at the yard. Evergreen and Yang Ming are arranging the repair and maintenance of more ships at CSBC, although some ships will go to Chinese yards for the same purpose.