Evergreen is nearing a deal for 14,000-teu ships that could give the Taiwanese line a huge competitive advantage over rivals.
Evergreen is hammering out the final terms with a South Korean shipyard and investor from which it will charter the 10 giant ships.
The shipping line is thought to be weeks away from signing a long-term charter contract with Korea Development Bank subsidiary Korea Infrastructure Investments Asset Management for 10 units.
While Kiamco would raise the finance, Hyundai Merchant Marine would provide the technical expertise and manage the ships which are expected to be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, sources say.
Before anything is finalised, questions are being asked about whether the terms rumoured to have been offered breach international rules on state aid.
The price agreed for the vessels is said to be less than $115m apiece, compared with highs of almost $170m paid at the peak in 2008.