NEWBUILDING contracts for pure car and truck carriers show no sign of slowing down as operators play catch up after years of minimal investment in new tonnage.
Orders for five new PCTCs have been confirmed by Italy’s Grimaldi Group after it exercised options attached to an order for five 9,000 car capacity units it signed last October with China Merchants Heavy Industry Jiangsu.
Grimaldi’s orders bring its newbuilding backlog of PCTCs up to 15 ships with a combined capacity of 135,000 cars. That gives the Italian shipowner the second largest backlog of vehicle carrier newbuildings in terms of capacity, after Cosco. The latest ammonia-ready specification ships are due for delivery in 2026 and 2027.
The 15 Grimaldi newbuildings will also be equipped with mega lithium batteries, solar panels and cold ironing shore power connectivity together with a hull air lubrication system and are claimed to be 50% more fuel efficient than earlier Grimaldi ships per cargo slot cost.
PCTC newbuildings have also been ordered by China’s SAIC Anji Logistics which was reported by brokers to have contracted seven 8,900 car capacity, methanol-ready vessels from two domestic shipyards.
Four ships are said to have been ordered from China Merchants Jinling Shipyard, with the remaining three vessels set to be built by Jiangnan Shipyard. Delivery of the seven newbuildings is booked for 2025 and 2026.
The orders follow 7,000 car capacity units, which the same owner ordered from Jiangnan Shipyard in the past year. This gives SAIC Anji Logistics a backlog of 14 newbuildings, with a combined capacity of 113,000 cars.
SAIC Anji Logistics’ significant investments in the vehicle carrier sector reflect a strategy by the Chinese automotive industry to ship its rapidly growing export production on domestically owned ships, rather than utilising Scandinavian or Japanese operators, which have dominated this sector since the 1960s.