Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) has reportedly confirmed an order for 11 22,000-TEU vessels, which would not only be the largest order in the 47-year-old company’s history, but one of the biggest ever in the containership industry.

According to a report from industry news outlet Lloyd’s List, MSC chief executive Diego Aponte has confirmed that the company is ordering 11 ultra-large container vessels.

The news comes on the heels of rival CMA CGM of France revealing that it was ordering up to nine containerships of 22,000 TEUs – six firm orders with an option for three more – slated for delivery from the end of 2019.

CMA CGM signed its order in France on Sept. 20, according to Lloyd’s List, without a final price decided upon. The cost would be around $136 million per vessel if a conventional fuel system with scrubbers is chosen, or about $154 million should a dual-fuel alternative – which would allow for the use of LNG – be selected instead.

An unidentified spokesperson for MSC told Splash 24/7 that the newly ordered vessels are being viewed as replacements for older charter vessels that are expected to be retired in the coming years.

“[T]he new order is expected to effectively replace this fleet, rather than substantially increasing MSC’s overall capacity,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) has been lined up to build at least five of the ULCS vessels, according to the reports.

Rumors on MSC’s order surfaced in August, but the company downplayed them at the time and did not offer comment. Aponte, however, confirmed this week that need to replace older vessels was the reason for the order.