The world’s largest ship is entering its final stage of construction, and is due to go into active service later this year. At 400-metre long and 165,000 tonnes, the Triple E is will be able to carry 18,000 TEU, 12% more cargo than its nearest rival the CMA CGM Marco Polo, which is currently the largest ship in operation at 16,020 TEU. Building the vessel has been a mammoth undertaking, which this astonishing time-lapse video captures:
“Triple E” stands for the philosophy behind the vessel – Economy of scale, Energy efficiency and Environmental improvement. The increased capacity, along with re-designed engines and a slower maximum speed of 23 knots, mean that the carbon footprint per container will be reduced by 50%.
However, some industry critics are pointing out that the Triple E will be too large to dock in all but a few ports, and that the environmental and economic savings can only be gained when it is fully loaded. Due to the disparity in import and export volumes between Europe and the Far East, many ships sailing this trade route leave Europe with a significant proportion of empty containers. Maersk is counting on container trade growing at a rate of 5 – 6 % year on year in order to recoup the company’s investment in the new vessel. It remains to be seen whether the gamble will pay off.