Ocean Network Express (ONE) CEO Jeremy Nixon said today that the pan-Japanese liner operator’s acquisition of a 28.5% stake in Atlas Corp., the parent company of Seaspan Corporation, is a purely financial transaction, but also a strategic move as Seaspan will become ONE’s largest tonnage provider.
Currently, 12% of ONE’s chartered ships are from Seaspan but this will go up to 25% when newbuildings Seaspan ordered are ready.
Seaspan is now the largest tonnage provider of container ships and its orderbook will bring its fleet to 200 vessels by 2024.
Nixon said that when ONE was formed in 2017, it inherited container ships from its shareholders, Mitsui OSK Lines, NYK Line and K Line. However, many of these vessels were near the end of their lifespan or charters and ONE’s management embarked on a fleet growth plan.
Nixon continued, “Our management team was focused on developing a pipeline of big vessels, with better ships and slot economics. We have been effective in securing 54 new ships on a mix of long-term leases and owned vessels. Twenty are already in operation. The remaining ships will be delivered in 2024 to 2026.”
In March, Poseidon Acquisition Corp. the consortium comprising ONE, Atlas chairman David Sokol, certain affiliates of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, and certain affiliates of the Washington Family completed its US$10.9 billion takeover of Atlas.
Nixon elaborated, “Atlas is a very well-managed significant NOO with many long-term leases to a multitude of shipping companies, including ONE. We have 20 ships on charter from Seaspan, making up 12% of our fleet. This will go up to 20% to 25%. While we want to keep the operations separate, at the shareholder level, we have a more strategic alignment in terms of synergies to improve the technical side of the business, in particular newbuilds and decarbonisation.”
By 2030, ONE wants to slash carbon emissions by 70% and is exploring alternative fuels such as methanol, ammonia and biofuels, in addition to installing bow windshields.
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ONE has 20 ammonia/methanol-ready 13,700 TEU ships on order at Nihon Shipyard and Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Nixon said, “When we ordered (10 of) those ships last year, we knew there was not enough certainty around alternative fuels. Now, there’s breakthrough in terms of methanol production, and hopefully, ammonia. ONE has the option to retrofit the ships to run on methanol and ammonia.”