Mega-Ships

Mega-Ships

Seeking efficiency and economies of scale, the world’s container carriers are increasingly ordering mega-ships capable of handling more than 8,000 20-foot-equivalent container units, with even larger vessels appearing particularly on the Asia-Europe trade lane. Shippers and carriers looking to reach the North American east coast with these post-Panamax ships must transit the Suez Canal because, as their name implies, they are too big to sail through the Panama Canal. But with Panama’s decade-long canal expansion project set for completion in 2015, many larger vessels will be able to add the Panama Canal to their route options. Ports around the world are preparing for the onslaught of these mega-ships, dredging harbors and investing in super-post-Panamax cranes that can reach across 22 or more rows of containers to expedite loading and unloading operations.

Special Coverage

The 12,500-TEU MSC Fabiola broke records when it first called at California ports in 2012.
West Coast ports will spend the coming year in much the same way they spent the past year: preparing for big ships operated by big carrier alliances.

News & Analysis

15 Oct 2014
A record number of ship deliveries will combine with declining scrapping rates and mid-single-digit growth in volume to extend the gap between container ship supply and demand through 2015, according to a leading maritime research consultant.
47 percent of ships with a capacity of 10,000 20-foot containers or more were delayed for 12 hours or more
12 Aug 2014
Nearly half of all post-Panamax ships saw delays of 12 hours or more at North and South American ports in July, according to a new study released by CargoSmart.
Port of Xiamen, China, APMT
01 Aug 2014
Terminal operators are responding to the tsunami of large vessels that have descended upon global ports by dramatically ramping up their productivity in turning the mega-ships. But the gains realized are only a taste of what will be necessary when the next generation of vessels arrive on the scene by 2018, industry analysts say.
Port of Rotterdam. Photo: travelfoto / Shutterstock.com
28 Jul 2014
Worsening congestion at the port of Rotterdam has prompted two short sea and feeder shipping lines to impose surcharges of around $100 per container.
CMA CGM Corte Real
09 Jul 2014
West Coast ports can breathe a sigh of relief after the rejection of the P3 Network by China’s Ministry of Commerce — a single operational entity won’t have the huge leverage they feared in negotiations over port calls and terminal charges.
01 Jul 2014
Beneficial cargo owners and harbor trucking companies that consistently experience long turn times at container terminals may want to fire their ocean carriers.

Commentary

The port bottlenecks that flow directly from the profusion of big ships truly hit home this year, with cargo delays being felt from Asia to Latin America, traced back to the bigger ships calling at ports ill-equipped to handle them.

Video

Acting Long Beach Port Director Al Moro talks about the ambitious projects to prepare the port for the big new container ships that are calling there. POLB and private investors are providing billions of dollars to build new rail lines and a huge automated container terminal, as well as to replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge, which is too low for the new ships.