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

Cranes
14 Aug 2014
Container terminals in gateway ports around the world, already suffering from congestion caused by mega-ships, may not be able to keep up with their ever-increasing size because of limits on crane technology and the lack of yard space.
Construction underway at APT Terminals Izmir
12 Aug 2014
APM Terminals Izmir ordered three ship-to-shore quay cranes and 10 rubber-tire gantry cranes from ZPMC for its new container terminal at Turkey’s port of Petkim.
12 Aug 2014
Bulk and tanker shipowner Scorpio Group said today that it will enter the container ship market by helping to build the l
47 percent of ships with a capacity of 10,000 20-foot containers or more were delayed for 12 hours or more
12 Aug 2014
Nearly half of all post-Panamax ships saw delays of 12 hours or more at North and South American ports in July, according to a new study released by CargoSmart.
Port of Xiamen, China, APMT
01 Aug 2014
Terminal operators are responding to the tsunami of large vessels that have descended upon global ports by dramatically ramping up their productivity in turning the mega-ships. But the gains realized are only a taste of what will be necessary when the next generation of vessels arrive on the scene by 2018, industry analysts say.
Port of Rotterdam. Photo: travelfoto / Shutterstock.com
28 Jul 2014
Worsening congestion at the port of Rotterdam has prompted two short sea and feeder shipping lines to impose surcharges of around $100 per container.

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.