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

How the Port of New York and New Jersey handles the ramp up in business will go a long way in determining the port’s future growth.

News & Analysis

26 Jan 2018
The mega-ships continue to flood in to the Asia-North Europe container trade lane.
12 Jan 2018
The orders come after Cosco and Yang Ming delayed delivery of roughly 200,000 TEU of capacity to 2019 amid signs overcapacity remains in the market.
Container shipping capacity is something shippers pay close attention to as the supply-demand balance has a direct impact on freight rate levels.
10 Jan 2018
As capacity floods into service, some carriers have started to delay the delivery of new mega-ships.
22 Nov 2017
The Port of New York and New Jersey hosted its first 14,000 TEU ship on a regular service without a hitch Tuesday.
15 Nov 2017
Yang Ming and HMM have said it is too early to confirm whether mega-ships will be included on their order books.
31 Oct 2017
The Charleston dredging project has proceeded quickly through a series of milestones since the corps recommended the deepening in 2010.

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.