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

Hapag-Lloyd's Hamburg Express container ship
14 Sep 2014
Container freight rates will stabilize and may trend upward over the next few years despite the existing overcapacity of vessel space because of the expansion of existing carrier alliances and the creation of new ones, according to Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd.
Wrap-up
13 Sep 2014
A new carrier alliance entered the fray this week after weeks of feverish speculation.
11 Sep 2014
The chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission is on a mission to help ports address their congestion problem, which seems to be getting worse.
Ships
10 Sep 2014
Container lines in coming years will continue to order larger ships and switch membership in vessel-sharing alliances in a desperate game of survival...
Cosco Philippines
31 Aug 2014
Cosco Container Lines (Cosco) is placing an order for five 14,000-TEU vessels as it continues with an aggressive tonnage scrapping programme to revitalise both its fleet and its flagging profits.
Container stacks say "18000" at the opening of Berth 5/6 at Container Terminal Burchardkai. Photo copyright HHM / Zilski
26 Aug 2014
German terminal operator Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA) has unveiled a new berth capable of handling the largest container ships at its Container Terminal Burchardkai at the Port of Hamburg.

Commentary

Other than last week’s stunning collapse of the P3 Network, there’s arguably no hotter issue in the container shipping world than port productivity.

More Commentary

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.