A new resolution on energy-efficiency regulation of ships was adopted at the 65th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO),...
Initially, the eight 12,800-teu ships ordered in 2007 by German owner NSC and Lloyd Fonds were scheduled for delivery between 2010 and the end of 2011.
Hanjin's website now shows delivery dates from 2010 through 2014.
The decision to provisionally postpone delivery of the vessels was made without the knowledge of Lloyd Fonds and NSC.
"The delay has not been arranged by a joint agreement with Hanjin," Lloyd Fonds' chief executive Torsten Teichert was cited by foreign media as saying.
However, both parties were said to have been already in discussion about the fate of the order.
"We informed Hanjin that there is no financing in place for four of the ships and that these vessels have no charter contracts," said Mr Teichert.
Hanjin disclosed in a statement that it was in talks about changed contract terms, including rescheduled delivery positions, regarding several projects.
The order for eight 12,800-teu vessels was placed by NSC and Lloyd Fonds at Hanjin's Subic Shipyard in the Philippines.
NSC and Lloyd Fonds have since sold two of the vessels on order to French line CMA CGM, planned for delivery in May and September 2010, but they are now likely to be postponed by one year. The carrier also chartered two vessels for 12 years at a daily rate of about $59,000.
The other four ships do not have any charter contracts. This quartet was scheduled for delivery between May and December 2011, but now Hanjin seems to be planning to complete the vessels between 2012 and 2014.
Further, there is considerable doubt as to whether they will be built. Cancellation is a possibility, given the ‘weak' contract terms.
The yard had agreed on a very low first instalment of $5m per vessel, with each ordered by one-ship companies in which Lloyd Fonds and NSC are the shareholders.
As no bank financing is in place, the one-ship company would not be able to pay the subsequent instalments on its own. Lloyd Fonds and NSC have not given any further guarantees, meaning that they would each suffer a maximum loss of $2.5m per vessel should the order be cancelled.
Mr Teichert would not comment on the purchase price but it is understood to be slightly under $160m apiece.
Those close to the deal were sceptical about whether Hanjin's move would save the order.
"It is unlikely that the ships will actually be constructed, at least as 12,800-teu vessels," said one source.