EVERGREEN MEGA-SHIP CALLS AT L.A.
LOS ANGELES- 12/22/05 - The 7,024-TEU containership Hatsu Sigma recently made her maiden call at the Port of Los Angeles.
The ship - operated by Hatsu Marine Ltd., the British-flag subsidiary of Evergreen Marine Corp. - is the largest vessel in the company'../eWebPhotos/hatsu2a.jpg" align=left vspace=15 border=0>is the second of ten new "S" class vessels that the Taiwan-based Evergreen Group is planning to fold into its fleet over the next two years.
The Hatsu Sigma was built in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and is being deployed on Evergreen's Transpacific Southwest (TPS) service linking Yantian, Hong Kong, and Kaohsiung with Los Angeles and Tacoma on a 35-day rotation.
The first ship in the new "S" series - the Hatsu Shine - was delivered in early September.
According to industry sources, Evergreen - one of the largest carriers to call the busiest container port in the country - faces space limitations as it attempts to expand its presence in Southern California and continues to upgrade the size of its vessels rather than adding services.
Evergreen will handle about 650,000 TEUs in Los Angeles this year, and will move about 720,000 TEUs through the port next year, according to Evergreen Group Vice Chairman Kuo Shiuan-Yu.
With containerized imports from Asia continuing to increase at 8% or more per year, it is still possible that Evergreen may add another service at Los Angeles in 2006.
The issue "is under study," said Vice Chairman Kuo.
Evergreen, like most other carriers in the Pacific, has a large order book of vessels scheduled for delivery over the next two years.
The global container industry through 2007 is scheduled to take delivery of about 200 vessels ranging in size from 6,000 to 9,500 TEUs. Most of those vessels will be deployed in the Asia-Europe and Asia-North America trades, according to industry sources.
Although capacity at its 205-acre terminal in the port's Terminal Island district is tight, Evergreen is continuing to find ways to move more containers through not only Southern California, but other major regions along the Pacific Coast, as well.
The carrier opened a large terminal at the Port of Tacoma earlier this year, and its volume through the Pacific Northwest surged as a result.
Kuo acknowledged that the flood of new vessels entering the eastbound Pacific is pushing rates lower.
If capacity in the trade next year increases 12% to 15%, and demand increases 8% to 9%, as projected, rates could slip further. On the other hand, it would be unwise for carriers to stress market share over profitability, he added.
Shipping lines and terminal operators are also facing pressure from the City of Los Angeles to reduce harmful emissions from maritime operations.
Evergreen has responded by making its new "S" class ships among the cleanest in the transpacific trades. Each of the ships is equipped to operate from shore-side electrical power while at berth.
Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) - or "cold-ironing" - is said to significantly reduce pollutants compared to the traditional auxiliary diesel engines that are utilized for vessel power systems while in port.
Evergreen is equipping all ten of its "S" class vessels with cold-ironing capability at an estimated cost of $2 million per ship even though Los Angeles is the only port in the world that has mandated the use of shoreside electrical power for container ships.
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