China’s BAL Container Line is said to be the latest company to join the red-hot container ship market with an order for up to four 14,000-teu vessels worth close to $600m in total.

Shipbuilding sources said the Hong Kong-registered but Shanghai-based liner company has struck a deal with Jiangnan Shipyard for two firm vessels with options for an additional pair of ships.

The sources estimated that the company is paying between $140m and $150m per conventionally fuelled vessel, which includes the cost of scrubbers.