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Monday, October 5, 2015

Is Bigger Still Better?

In an ever growing and rapidly expanding society, where we have little room to spare in our yards at home or on the port, it seems in more recent times the saying “bigger is better” may no longer ring true.

However, whilst bigger may not always be better on shore, out to sea, this saying certainly strikes a very different chord.

Let me introduce you to Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, the world’s largest container ship.



Honouring the name of the late Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, this feat of danish design is just the first of twenty in the Triple-E Series, proving that bigger really is still better. Affectionately dubbed the blue giant of the sea, this mega vessel stands an impressive 400 metres in length, 73 metres in height and has the capacity to transport 18,000 containers (TEU). That’s no small feat. The secret to its ingenuity however is not in its dimensions, but in its design.

Although only four metres longer and three metres wider than its predecessor, the cavity of the Triple-E Series has seen a dramatic expansion. The extra space now accommodates for up to an additional 2,500 containers per haul. Not to be satisfied of just this, the new fleet of giants also emit 50% less CO2 per container moved, effectively halving its carbon footprint. This added environmental benefit is a result of “ the unique hull design, energy-efficient engine and system that uses exhaust gas to produce extra energy to help propel the ship, make the Triple-E unmatched in energy efficiency”.

It’s no surprise these giants are creating wakes at sea and in the office. Not only are they more environmentally friendly than their competitors, but they are also unmatched in their efficiency and size.

For shippers, you’d expect this would all be good news. Greater capacity ought to equate to lesser costs, right? The answer appears unclear for the present time.

As increased capacity drives down rates, shippers are paying less; although potentially not for long, warn Hackett Associates, an international expert and advisory company to the Maritime Industry. They predict that this could be especially true for the US where “some lines have (already) cancelled voyages to counteract the downward trend”.

Nonetheless, Hackett Associates report TEU freight in the US to have increased by 4.2 percent from last year, with the first half of 2015 already 6.5% higher than the same period from last year.

Therefore despite speculation to the contrary, the global shipping task is on the rise and carriers that lead the way in design and efficiency the future is bright.

For sea freight at least, it seems the saying is true; bigger is better.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton

Thanks to +Darcy Cooper for her contribution to this post.

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