China's second-biggest shipping company, China Shipping Container Lines Co Ltd (HKG:2866), will pay $700 million for five vessels that will be the world's largest box container ships.

The new ships, which are being built by South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., will be able to carry 18,400 standard box containers, more than the 18,000-container Triple-E vessel built by rival Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (KRX:042660) for Danish shipping company AP Moeller - Maersk A/S (CPH:Maersk-B). Maersk purchased its larger fleet of 20 Triple-E super ships for $3.6 billion in 2011 and is set to begin operating them in July. Hyundai Heavy will deliver CSCL's five ships by 2014.

Each of the new ships is estimated to cost about $130 million to $140 million, and the deal will get Hyundai Heavy to $9.7 billion, about 40 percent of its annual revenue target of $23.8 billion.

The high-tech ships feature electronically controlled main engines that automatically adjust fuel consumption with sailing speed and sea conditions, helping to improve fuel efficiency, reduce noise and cut emissions.

However, at 30.5 meters (100 feet) high and 58.6 meters wide with a 400 meter-long deck, the super-size ships will only be able to sail on the Asia-Europe shipping route, because they'll make it through the Suez Canal but will be too wide to pass through the Panama Canal. Also, not all shipping docks have large-enough cranes to unload and load a ship of that size.

In a similar deal for CSCL, the company's China Shipping Development division, in partnership with Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines, has also confirmed a $1.51 billion order with Shanghai's Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding for six liquefied natural gas carriers. Sinopec will use the 174,000 cubic meter capacity ships to transport LNG from its Queensland's Australia Pacific LNG project to China starting in 2016.