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Orient Overseas Says Still Working on Large-Container Ship Plan

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March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Orient Overseas (International) Ltd., Hong Kong’s biggest container line, said it was still working on plans to add larger vessels after Lloyd’s List reported that the company was close to a deal.

“There is no announcement on any new vessels being ordered,” Chief Financial Officer Ken Cambie said in an e-mailed reply to Bloomberg News today. Lloyd’s List, citing an unidentified person familiar with the situation, said the Hong Kong-based company would sign a deal for as many as 10 ships, each with a capacity to carry 13,000 containers, as early as next week.

Orient Overseas is considering ordering ships able to carry 13,000 boxes, Cambie reiterated, as shipping lines add capacity because of rising Asian exports to the U.S. and Europe. A.P. Moeller Maersk A/S, the world’s largest container line, last month ordered as many as 30 ships that can carry 18,000 containers.

Lloyd’s List said yesterday that Orient Overseas would place six firm orders with Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and take four options.

Separately, Orient Overseas yesterday said three Asia-North America services were omitting port stops in Tokyo after an earthquake and crippled nuclear-power plant caused electricity shortages in the city. Two of the sailings also will skip stops in Nagoya, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net

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