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.

News & Analysis

20 Jul 2017
Pacific Northwest ports believe the true competitive edge will come from faster cargo velocity at the terminals.
27 Jun 2017
The passage under the newly raised Bayonne Bridge in the Port of New York and New Jersey of half a dozen ships that could not have made it before the raising of the bridge marks the opening of a new era for the port.
07 Jun 2017
The Seattle-Tacoma alliance will purchase an additional four cranes to enable its ports to better handle mega-ships.
23 May 2017
According to analysts, low freight demand, overcapacity, and the consequent tightening of profit margins has placed shipbuilding on a sort of hiatus, but it won't last.
18 May 2017
Roughly $4.6 billion is needed at East and Gulf coast ports to remedy pinch points in harbor infrastructure.
25 Apr 2017
Authorities on Tuesday removed the height restriction on certain ships going under the Bayonne Bridge in the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Commentary

Recent industry comments suggest carriers are being cautious in ordering new capacity — new ship orders are down substantially versus 2015 — and also will be cautious on capacity as alliances roll out their service networks. This is leading a number of observers to suggest that the container market gradually may be returning to equilibrium.