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, especially 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, the giant 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

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.
The Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller at APM Terminals Rotterdam.
20 Nov 2013
APM Terminals Rotterdam Maasvlakte I in the Netherlands has plans to enhance five of its existing post-Panamax cranes to a 23-container row reach...
CMA CGM Corte Real calls at the Port of Long Beach.
07 Nov 2013
LONG BEACH, Calif. — The arrival in Long Beach this week of the CMA CGM Corte Real, with a capacity of 14,000 20-foot containers, will produce a new North American record for cargo-handling as more than 10,000 container moves will take place during the vessel’s stay.
MSC Beatrice at the Port of Long Beach
25 Oct 2013
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together this year will spend more than $1 billion for deeper channels, taller cranes, terminal automation, intermodal connectors and environmental enhancements, and most of the record spend is being driven by bigger ships.
MSC Fabiola at the Port of Long Beach, Calif.
24 Oct 2013
West Coast ports today are capable of handling the water and landside demands that the current generation of big ships are making on their infrastructure, but they must spend billions of additional dollars to accommodate even bigger container ships that will call there in the next few years.
CMA CGM Othello transiting the Suez Canal
16 Oct 2013
SHENZHEN, China — Container rates will be even more volatile over the next 12 months, as liner consolidation is unlikely and the proposed alliance between the top three carriers will only make the trio and others more competitive with pricing, said an executive consultant at Alphaliner.

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.

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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.