Excerpts from article which was kindly sent to Maritime Bulletin by author, Mr. Frank Diegel, CEO Marine-Pilots.com. Is the 26,000 TEU container vessel coming now? The last month Jan Tiedemann from Alphaliner (BRS) in Hamburg has reported, that DNV GL has awarded Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding (group) Co., Ltd. an approval in principle for the design of an LNG-powered 25,000 TEU container vessel. Based upon the reported vessel dimensions, he reckons that the ship could actually have a capacity closer to 26,000 TEU. Have a look at his rough calculation and his graphic.
The pressure on shipping companies to cut costs pushes this development The main reason for the growth of ships is economic pressure: fuel costs and fierce competition between shipping companies give an advantage to those who are able to transport containers at the lowest cost with the largest ship.
But where will this lead us in shipping? Where will this development end? Fact is, that there will be a shift in transport costs from sea to land. The shipping companies are saving costs by operating ever larger ships, while on land more and more investment must be made to server infrastructure. These are among others: – Lower access routes and berths for ships – Larger cranes – Larger intermediate storage areas – Larger transport capacities to the hinterland by truck, train or inland waterway vessel Some ports have already introduced a size limit for ships because they are no longer wanting to take part in this rat race.
Impact on Maritime Pilots The handling of the ship giants is becoming more and more difficult with masses over 200,000 tons. The area exposed to the wind and the ever-increasing draught of the ships with ever-increasing dimensions make safe manoeuvring in existing harbours and their access routes riskier.
Effects on port operators The port operators have the investments described above because the existing – often still very modern – infrastructure can no longer cope with the size of the new ships.
Effects on vessel insurers The cost risk of a single ship accident rises. The complete loss of ship and cargo alone, without taking into account consequential damages, can cause losses in the high 3-digit million-dollar range. Under certain circumstances, the limit of 1 billion dollars in damage can be exceeded.
Conclusion and discussion Personally, I am taking a critical view of future ship sizes, especially regarding the rising costs at land and the growing safety risk. But this might be only a conservative view of a European. Comments and opinions are welcomed and highly appreciated.
My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.