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.

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Mega-vessels are still making mega-waves across the container shipping industry — from carriers, ports and terminal operators to shippers and insurers — as shipyards churn out increasing numbers of historically large vessels.

News & Analysis

26 Nov 2015
South Korea's government plans to conduct research on ultra-large container ships, including the return on investment of the vessels, their impact on ports and the investment needed at terminals to handle them.
Port of Prince Rupert
25 Nov 2015
Brian Friesen spoke to about the unique model of Canada's Port of Prince Rupert rail business, which is focused o
10 Nov 2015
The port of Felixstowe has officially inaugurated an extended berth that will enable it to simultaneously handle two mega-container vessels of more 18,000 TEUs capacity.
26 Oct 2015
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, India's busiest container gateway, has revised plans to dredge its access channel to a draught of up to 56 feet and will now settle for 49 feet, citing high costs and a lack of incremental benefits for the decision.
24 Sep 2015
The cascading of ever-larger ships from east-west liner routes to the north-south trades is the biggest problem confronting container shipping, according to an industry analyst.
10 Sep 2015
Cosco, China's largest shipping company, Wednesday ramped up its mega-ship ambitions by placing a $1.5 billion order for eleven 19,000 twenty-foot-equivalent unit container vessels, expanding its ultra-large containership orderbook from 11 to 20.


The Port of New York and New Jersey and its new port commerce director, former Port of Los Angeles executive Molly Campbell, face a challenge: The port must solve its current congestion issues before the next wave of big ships hits New York-New Jersey, probably next year.

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Brian Friesen spoke to about the unique model of Canada's Port of Prince Rupert rail business, which is focused o
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.