Monday, February 28, 2011

Will confirmation of Maersk's 18,000 TEU vessel order intensify competition for capacity among carriers?


MAERSK Line, the world’s largest shipping line by capacity, is now also confirmed as having placed the largest capacity order in the history of container shipping, with a reported 10 X 18,000 TEU vessels ordered by the Danish shipping giant for delivery between 2013 and 2015.

The deal, which was inked with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), also gives the carrier an option to purchase a further 20 such vessels in the future.

In comparison with Maersk's present largest Emma Maersk "PS Class" ship carrying 15,550 TEU, the new Triple-E class will have 16 per cent more capacity.

These mega ships, sometimes referred to as "Malaccamax", have been talked about for more than a decade and media reports of this Maersk order have been circulating worldwide over the past few months.

Speaking on the benefits to operators of these vessels, Oslo-based DNV said that these large ships are not only green vessels due to their lower fuel consumption per TEU, but they also provide the shipping lines with a lower fuel cost, courtesy of their economy of scale.


"Two decades ago, studies were published comparing two 4,000-TEU ships to one 8,000-TEU ship and showed a reduced total cost per unit. Today, a comparison between two 8,000-TEU ships and one 16,000-TEU shows the same trend. The capital cost for the bigger ship is in the order of 20 per cent less and the fuel cost around 40 per cent less, the exact numbers depend on the building price and fuel price," said DNV in an article entitled "The future of the ultra large containership".

Reiterating this salient concept, Maersk positions this new and gigantic 18,000-TEU container vessel class as Triple-E: "Economy" of scale, "Energy" efficiency and "Environmentally" improved.

The dimensions of the new vessel class are 400 metres long (LOA), 59 metres wide (beam), 73 metres tall (height) and is equipped with a draft of 16.5 metres.

The Triple-E class ships can stow 23 rows of containers on deck for a deadweight estimated at 200,000 tons, according to maritime analyst Alphaliner.

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