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

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.
NYK Arcadia at Global Terminal in Bayonne, N.J.
11 Oct 2013
Global Terminal in Bayonne, N.J., this week handled a ship with capacity of 9,300 twenty-foot-equivalent units, reportedly the largest container ship to call at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
05 Oct 2013
Christening ceremonies were held Friday in Los Angeles for the APL Savannah, a container ship capable of carrying 9,200 20-foot container units that exemplifies the direction the carrier is taking with its massive vessel order book.
04 Oct 2013
Importers and exporters see a different side of container carrier mega-alliances operating mega-ships and dumping large container volumes on marine terminals, roadways and intermodal railroads. They see a supply chain beset by mega-problems.
27 Sep 2013
Søren Skou, chief executive of Maersk Line, has admitted that the Danish company misjudged the strength in demand for container shipping when it ordered 20 18,000-TEU vessels...
27 Sep 2013
Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries has commissioned Kalmar to increase the operating height of four ship-to-shore cranes for APM Terminals Algeciras in southern Spain.

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.