Maersk Line says it has ordered seven ice-class container vessels from Chinese shipyard COSCO as a first step in a $15 billion investment program.
The value of the order was not disclosed. Deliveries were expected in the second half of 2017.
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The Copenhagen-based company said Thursday it needs new vessels to "grow with the market," and expects to announce more orders this year.
The new ships will serve its fully-owned Seago Line in the Baltic and North Sea regions, including in icy conditions.
The world's largest container company, Maersk Line is on a five-year program to add capacity to meet growing demand for container shipping, and to replace less efficient ships.
Maersk Line is part of shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk.