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Seeking efficiency and economies of scale, the world’s container carriers are increasingly ordering mega-ships capable of handling more than 8,000-TEU ships, 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.

Expanded Panana Canal broadens mega-ship market

But with Panama’s decade-long canal expansion project completed in 2016, many larger vessels are now 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

23 May 2018
The Canadian East Coast’s very stable market has recently changed significantly: it’s in a state of turmoil with many container port projects being considered — Quebec City (Beauport); Dartmouth, Halifax; Montreal (Contrecoeur); Melford, Nova Scotia; and Sydney, Nova Scotia (Novaporte).
HMM.
10 Apr 2018
The new order for mega-ships gives Hyundai Merchant Marine the container shipping industry's third-largest orderbook.
16 Mar 2018
The biggest ship in CMA CGM's fleet called at Hamburg this week, but even though the port has the infrastructure to handle mega-ships, the delay in dredging the Elbe River access channel continues to hold back volume growth.
28 Feb 2018
HMM says mega-ships will be ordered in the first half of 2018 but provided no info on the number of vessels or their sizes.
27 Feb 2018
Analysts are trying to figure out HMM's growth plans, with the South Korean carrier widely expected to place its mega-ship order.
26 Jan 2018
The mega-ships continue to flood in to the Asia-North Europe container trade lane.

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.