Saturday, August 31, 2019

As The World's Largest Container Ship Completes Its Maiden Voyage from China to Europe, A Call For Even Bigger Behemoths

Two from gCaptain. First up, August 19th:
The world’s largest containership, MSC Gülsün, has completed its maiden voyage from Asia to Europe, its MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company said Monday. 

AIS ship tracking data shows the MSC Gülsün has arrived in Bremerhaven, Germany after completing its journey from northern China. 

At some 400 meters long and more than 60 meters wide, MSC Gülsün has a remarkable 23,756 TEU capacity. The record-setting capacity means the ship can emit less CO2 per container carried. Built at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea, the vessel is the first in a class of 10 ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) to be delivered to MSC. 

In total, SHI will deliver six of the new class of ships, while Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) is constructing the other five, also in South Korea....MORE
Which reminded me of a gCaptain editorial from last spring:

Opinion: Trans-Pacific Beneficial Cargo Owners Deserve 18,000 TEU+ Container Vessels
The deployment of 18,000+ Ultra Large Container Vessels in the Trans-Pacific trade would substantially decrease the operating costs of shippers, consignees and ship owners.
There is a proposed port in Sonora, Mexico that has the potential of being the first purpose-built port in North America capable of handling, on a steady basis, the largest container ships in the world, which are 18,000 to 23,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit). 18,000 TEU is the equivalent of 9,000 forty foot 18 wheeler trailers. At present, there are 72 of these vessels in service, all operating in the Far East/ Europe trade. Forty-two additional vessels of this size are now on order. They are too large for the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach or any Pacific Coast port to handle on a steady basis because the number of containers would overwhelm their existing shoreside infrastructure.

The M/V Benjamin Franklin, owned by CMA CGM and with a capacity of 18,000 TEU, called the Port of Los Angeles once in late Dec 2015. In Feb 2016 this ship called the Port of Long Beach and then the Port of Seattle. The largest container ships now in the trans-Pacific trade are 14,000 TEU. Due to the tremendous economies of scale, an 18,000 TEU ship has 50% lower operating costs and 50% lower CO2 emissions versus a 14,000 TEU ship. Shipping stakeholders should be interested in this proposed container port because it can make the Trans-Pacific container trade more cost-effective than it is now.

This proposed container port in Sonora, Mexico takes advantage of the naturally deep water in the Sea of Cortez and is not located near a major metropolitan area. The Sea of Cortez is two miles deep at its mouth, 700 miles long and much of its width is over 80 miles across. Vessel operations would be an on-dock rail layout with ship to train and train to ship container moves with no trucks involved. All of this is in contrast to the existing container ports on the U.S. West Coast which are located in major cities and susceptible to heavy truck congestion. All rail operations would be on double tracks with Double Stack Trains (DST’s). The Mexican national railroad, Ferromex, is 25% owned by the Union Pacific railroad. Double Stack Trains would cross the border at Nogales, Arizona without stopping due to U.S.Customs clearance having taken place at the new container port. DST’s would operate at speeds above 40 mph throughout the transit from the port to the U.S.A....
.... Harry Valentine wrote an article titled New Sailing Routes for Future Container Mega-Ships which appeared Nov 13, 2017, in In this article, he projected the following increased container vessel capacities:
  • 28,000 TEU by 2027 requiring a depth of water of 59 feet (18 m).
  • 35,000 TEU by 2050 requiring a depth of water of 62.3 feet (19 m).
  • 50,000 TEU by 2070 requiring a depth of water of 80.7 feet (24.6m).....