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Shipping Containers In Bulk

Friday, 22nd February 2013

It doesn’t seem so long ago that the world was stunned with the launch of the Emma Maersk the first of a new class of vessel able to carry the equivalent of 11000 20ft containers. The latest announcement from Maersk however makes this ship look small.

The largest container ship currently in service is the Marco Polo, launched in November by CMA/CGM this vessel can carry over 16000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units). Maersk have laid down the gauntlet however with the announcement of the first of 20 Triple E class vessels on order to be launched in June. Costing £123 million each, and over a quarter of a mile long, these floating container depots will be able to carry 18000 TEU and will be the largest ships in service today.

This investment by Maersk certainly bucks the trend and is seen by many as a gamble. Demand for goods worldwide is down and not expected to return to full strength until 2015. The race for larger and larger vessels however is on. The economies of scale when compared to running smaller Post Panamax vessels are clear - the more containers the more revenue. This coupled with the fuel efficiencies of these new ships makes sense, the lines just need to fill them.

With an estimated 20% capacity of these vessels being empty containers the lines will be able to easily position equipment around the world according to demand. Not all ports however will be able to accommodate these huge ships and another race is on there to expand and invest in the infrastructure required to service the new and bigger container ships.



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