P&O Containers has signed contracts with Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co (IHI) to build two container ships, each capable of carrying 4038 TEUs (20 ft equivalent units). The contract includes an option for a further vessel. ''This is a major investment which confirms our intention to remain market leader in the major trade route between Europe and the Far East by providing our customers with the best possible service,'' P&O Containers chairman Tim Harris. The new vessels, the first of which is due for delivery in June next year, will be 50,235 gross tonnes each, and of similar specification to the Jervis Bay class, increasing the P&O Containers fleet to 32 vessels. Each new vessel also will be equipped with a 46,800 BHP engine providing a service speed of 23.4 knots. Meanwhile, P&O Containers has also appointed Peder Braendeholm, formerly of EACBEN, to take over as general manager Far East Trade division from August 2, replacing Tom Boardley, who will be attending a management development course in the United States. Mr Braendeholm, was for the last 21/2 years departmental manager of marketing and sales at EACBEN.