Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has signed a contract with Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) for the construction of four 20,000TEU containerships.
The new 400m-long and 58.8m-wide containerships will have a designed draft of 14.5m and a 16m load draft.
Construction of the vessels will cost around $619.6m, at about $154.89m for each vessel, IHS Maritime 360 reported.
After delivery in 2017, the new-builds are expected to operate on the Asia-Europe service route.
Powered by MAN B&W G95ME engines, the vessels will offer reduced fuel consumption and operating costs compared with the 14,000TEU-type containers.
The engine vessels will be capable of using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel, under future remodelling work, MOL stated.
According to IHS Maritime, a statement from SHI said: "Global shipping companies are increasingly moving towards awarding contracts for ultra-large container ships in order to maximise cost saving.
"To meet the demand of the future with logistics and regulations, SHI has been developing container ships looking at the development of bigger and better ships at SHI Research Institute, which has one of the world’s largest commercial towing tanks."
Meanwhile, MOL said it has contracted Japan-based Imabari Shipbuilding to construct two 20,000TEU containerships.
The 400m-long and 58.5m-wide vessels are expected to be delivered in 2017. MOL signed a memorandum of understanding for long-term chartering of the vessels with Shoei Kisen Kaisha.