When Malcolm McLean, a transport entrepreneur, introduced the idea of ‘containerization’ in the year 1956, his aim must have to ensure that freight transportation would be cost-efficient, secure, reliable, and fast. Little did he know that years down the line, this revolutionary idea would also lead to a never-ending race among companies to create the largest container ships. He put forward the concept of an Intermodal Shipping Container, which in layman terms means containers based on standardized measurements as approved by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization), thereby eliminating the need to manually collect, carry and load cargos which in turn would save time and labor.
More than half a century later, lying on the couch, sipping a piping hot cuppa, browsing Amazon, the fact that the recently ordered Liaison Lash bond is sailing through the waters carried by probably one of the largest container ships in the world is simply mind-boggling. At present approximately 90% of global trade in goods is carried by the shipping industry.
Which generates the question, “Who is winning the race to build the largest container ships?” The capacity of a container ship is measured based on TEU i.e. Twenty-foot Equivalent Units
As of August 2021, Ever Ace is the world’s largest Container ship with a beam of 202 ft and an overall length of 1,312 ft. It broke all records by holding a maximum capacity of 23,992 TEU, therefore surpassing the capacity of HMM Algericas.
It is first in the planned Evergreen Class A series of 12 ships of which some have been built for the Evergreen Marines. It was built by South Korea’s Samsung Heavy industries
It embarked upon its maiden voyage on September 2021 from Felixstowe, Suffolk. The vessel has a top speed of 22.6 knots.
The Evergreen Class A series with increased capacity and speed hopes to double the revenue and increase the profit earned.
HMM Algeciras was the world’s largest containership with 23,964 TEU capacity, till the introduction of the Ever Ace container ship. Adding to this trait is that it is one of the largest eco-friendly, technologically advanced container vessels in the world.
Built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, this vessel is 1,312 ft long, 33.2 m deep, and has a beam size of 200.1 ft, and is registered in Panama. It is operated by HMM Co. Ltd. a South Korean container transportation and shipping company.
In preparation for standardized environmental regulation as presented by IMO 2020, the vessels have been equipped with a scrubber system. Furthermore, the optimized hull design and efficient engines will reduce carbon emissions.
HMM Oslo belongs to the HMM Algeciras-class Container Ships which also has the world’s second-largest container ship HMM Algeciras. Flagged by Panama, HMM Oslo embarked upon its maiden journey in 2020.
The Vessel has a beam of 202 ft and an overall length of 1,312 ft. It has a maximum capacity of 23,820 TEU. It has a maximum speed of 23.8 knots.
4. MSC Gulsun
When it was launched in the year 2019, MSC Gulsun was the world’s largest container ship. However, it now holds the fourth position in the race with a vessel capacity of 23,756 TEU.
Built by Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea, it still is unique in its ability to hold and transport 24 containers side by side across the breadth of its hull.
The ship is 1,312 ft long and has a beam size of 200.1 ft and has a maximum recorded speed of 12 knots. It holds the Panama flag and is operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
Similar to HMM Oslo, MSC Mina also belongs to the Gulsun class series which is operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company. It has a container carrying capacity of 23,656 TEU and is flagged by Panama.
Its LOA (Length Overall) is 399.7 and has an average speed of 18.6 knots. Constructed by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, the ship is 400 meters long and 61 meters wide.
CMA CGM Jacques Saadé
Jacques Saadé of CMA CGM is one of the first nine sister-ships and one of the world’s largest containerships which is fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) when it was first constructed in the year 2020. The CMA CGA has its ownership rights and it was named after Jacques Sade, the Founder of CMA CGA. It is the largest container ship flagged by France.
The vessel has a capacity of 23,000 TEU and has a length of 1,312 ft and a beam of 201 ft. It also has a recorded Avg. speed of 7.8 knots.
OOCL Hong Kong
When introduced in the year 2017, she was the largest container ship in the world and became the first ship to cross the 21000 TEU. The OOCL Hong Kong is an enigma produced by the firm Orient Overseas Container Line. This lead ship of six G-class ships is the first ship ever to cross the 21,000 TEU mark.
Constructed by the Samsung Heavy Industries, the vessel tops the G-class series. It has a carrying capacity of 21,413 TEU, with a length of 399.87 meters, a breadth of 58.8 meters, and a depth of 32.5 meters.
Her cruising speed is only 14.6 knots.
It was China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative and the signing of the Hong Kong – ASEAN Free Trade Agreement which led to the creation of OOCL Hong Kong.
COSCO Shipping Universe
Currently holding the record of being the largest cargo ship in China, this giant, with a carrying capacity of 21,237 TEU, has a length of 400 meters and a beam of 58.6 meters wide. It was constructed by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) in the year 2018 and was transferred to China Ocean Shipping Company Limited (COSCO).
It is a part of Universal Class, a series of 6 container ships, and has a 21,237 TEU.
The ship is equipped with ABB Turbochargers, to ensure optimum performance and enhanced fuel efficiency. This technicality helps it to achieve a maximum speed of 22 nautical miles per hour.
Flagged by Hong Kong, the Vessel links China’s coast to Europe and Africa and is the flagship vessel of the maritime silk route.
CMA CGM Antoine De Saint Exupery