The French shipping company reports the mega contract worth at least two billion dollars in a seven-line press release. The only explanation CMA CGM gives is that the order is intended to accommodate market growth. This seems to indicate that the project is not aimed at increasing market share.

The project is divided into two series of six ships that will be powered by LNG and a series of ten 5500-TEU feeder ships that will run on VLSFO (fuel oil with max 0.5 per cent sulphur). This means that these ships do not need to be equipped with a scrubber to filter exhaust gases.

Six of the LNG powered ships will have a capacity of 13,000 TEU and six of 15,000 TEU. It had been known for some time that the French were negotiating with Chinese shipyards about building ships of this size. With this project, CMA CGM confirms its strategic choice of LNG as the most suitable fuel to drastically reduce emissions of CO2, nitrogen and particulate matter.

Order book

According to Alphaliner, the total French order book comprises 44 vessels with a combined capacity of 556,000 TEU. It is not entirely clear whether the now confirmed order has already been included in these figures. Only MSC and Evergreen have more capacity on order with respectively 636,000 TEU and 689,000 TEU. The 22 new ships will come into service between 2023/2024.

Also read: CMA CGM’s first 23,000 TEU LNG container ship en route to Rotterdam

This article first appeared in Dutch on, a publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia