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

When the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin pulled out of Los Angeles in late December after an unprecedented effort by the port community to work the largest container ship ever to call at a North American port, no one was prouder than the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

News & Analysis

01 May 2016
Ports will have to compete for business as never before over the next decade, Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup said.
07 Jan 2016
South Carolina Ports Authority CEO and President Jim Newsome sat down with JOC.com Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi on the sidelines of JOC.com’s annual Port Performance North America Conference in December to discuss the Port of Charleston’s strong performance in 2015, the port’s future prospects amid slowing global trade, and the steps it's taking to handle mega-ships that will soon call at East Coast ports.
06 Jan 2016
If an uncertain global economy wasn’t enough for shippers and transportation providers, 2016 will be filled with major changes, from the massive container shipping weight mandate to liner consolidation. Other threats and opportunities will likely emerge during the year, but the 10 trends outlined here will definitely be in play and impact global supply chains. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
06 Jan 2016
Container lines are showing more interest in working with terminals to improve port productivity but it is not prioritized and there is a huge opportunity for improvement in the area, according to a major multi-location terminal operator.
05 Jan 2016
APM Terminals in Los Angeles last week wrote the script for handling the new generation of mega-ships with capacities of 18,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units, turning the massive CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin in 56 hours of operations, averaging 29.1 lifts per crane, per hour, and a total 200 container moves against the vessel each hour.
04 Jan 2016
Consultants McKinsey and Co. believes it has found one of those elusive win-win solutions for carriers and container terminals in the area of pricing that could potentially save the industry up to $3 billion a year.

Commentary

When the 3,351-TEU container ship Rena grounded off New Zealand in 2011, the cargo losses totaled $1 billion, and the salvage operation took seven months. The loss pales in comparison to what’s at stake as the latest generation of container ships approach 20,000 20-foot-equivalent units.

More Commentary

Video

Port of Los Angeles' Gene Seroka on current status of preparations for mega ships as the opening of an expanded Panama Canal approaches in 2016. Seroka details projects such as the Alameda Corridor, planned to handle trains 50 years into the future, the repurposing of land into "peel-off" yards, and revolutionary technology platforms from the U.S. DOT to Uber-like operations for less-than-truckload shipping.
Port of Virginia's John Reinhart on their strategy of making many smaller improvements for a lasting, sustained change to operations to expand with the industry.
South Carolina Ports Authority CEO and President Jim Newsome sat down with JOC.com Executive Editor Mark Szakonyi on the sidelines of JOC.com’s annual Port Performance North America Conference in December to discuss the Port of Charleston’s strong performance in 2015, the port’s future prospects amid slowing global trade, and the steps it's taking to handle mega-ships that will soon call at East Coast ports.