Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A giant step in Container ships is on the horizon

The prospect of even larger container ships one day calling on Prince Rupert may not be too far over the horizon, as the global shipping industry works on new designs and makes final preparations for even larger ocean going vessels in the near future.

The BBC and many other news outlets have provided a helpful guide as to what that near future may look like, as they review the specifications and expectations for a new class of container ship known as the Triple E, set to start sailing the world's trade routes in June.

The Triple E will be the largest of container vessels to be launched yet, taking up a quarter mile of length, higher than the Olympic Stadium in London, England and apparently holding enough steel as that of eight Eiffel Towers.

As far as storage capacity goes, the Triple E will hold the equivalent of 18,000 of the now standard 20 foot containers. One line Maersk, has ordered 20 of the vessels, which no doubt will assist the shipping line in the competitive world of global shipments.

The capacity of the Triple E vessels will make it a most impressive sight, the most recent vessels to come into service are what have become known as the Post Panamax Plus vessels, which arrived on the water in 2000 and can hold up to 8,000 containers.

An upgraded version of that vessel the New Panamax is to arrive in service in 2014, it's capacity to tops out at 12,500.

So the arrival of the Triple E vessels into service will provide for a significant jump in the amount of cargo that can be shipped.

To give you an idea of the scope of the project, the Maersk line has a number of videos posted to their YouTube portal, the one below, explains the key selling points of the new generation of their container ships.

Some background information on the Triple E can be found below

Maersk homepage for the Triple E project
Maersk Tripe E fact page

G Captain.com -- Maersk's New 18k TEU Containerships will be the "Prius of the Seas"
Gizmag-- The Triple-E Maersk container ship will be the world's largest ship and the most efficient
Marine Insight--  Maersk's Triple E Vessels: The World's Largest Container Ships Might Change the Face of Shipping Industry
Globe and Mail-- New ocean giant as steady as China goes
Canadian Saillings-- Canadian Ports brace for impacts of super sized container vessels

You can examine the BBC review of the new generation of container vessels from their website.

Waterfront watchers hopeful of spotting one of the Triple E's in Prince Rupert can keep the binoculars in their case for the short term however.

The Maersk line currently does not call on the Port of Prince Rupert, limiting it's Canadian destinations to Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver.

The promise of a giant vessel with such a huge payload, is no doubt something that could provide some competition for clients for the Port Authority in Prince Rupert over the next few years.

But as the nature of global shipping evolves and the reputation of the Port of Prince Rupert continues to grow, there may be a day when such giant ships will loom large in the Prince Rupert harbour.

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