Atlantic Container Line expects to seal a contract for five giant multipurpose ro-ro ships in May.
The US owner has held talks with shipyards for many months and made no secret of its plan to take full advantage of softening prices.
Chief executive Andrew Abbott said the company has benefited from falling prices, but negotiations are finally coming to a conclusion, with a firm order likely to be placed within weeks.
The ships will have a revolutionary design, with capacity for containers, cars and ro-ro cargo, adjustable decks and many other innovations that include better fuel efficiency than their predecessors.
Although the ships will be built in Asia, Mr Abbott has said in the past that he wants European manufacturers to supply much of the equipment to facilitate subsequent repairs and maintenance