New Times Shipbuilding of China is said to have struck a deal with Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) for 14 LNG dual-fuel neo-panamax container ship newbuildings worth more than $1.68bn.

Shipbuilding sources said the vessels inked are firm and the order does not include options.

New Times officials declined to comment on the yard’s shipbuilding activities, citing contract confidentiality. MSC told TradeWinds that it does not “comment on the specifics of its newbuildings pipeline”.

MSC’s order brings the total tally of neo-panamax container ships of between 7,000 teu and 8,000 teu booked by shipping companies to more than 100 vessels.