How much bigger can container ships get?

Check out this superb article – click here – featured on BBC News Magazine‘s website –

What is blue, a quarter of a mile long, and taller than London’s Olympic stadium? The answer – this year’s new class of container ship, the Triple E. When it goes into service this June, it will be the largest vessel ploughing the sea. Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU). If those containers were placed in Times Square in New York, they would rise above billboards, streetlights and some buildings. Or, to put it another way, they would fill more than 30 trains, each a mile long and stacked two containers high. Inside those containers, you could fit 36,000 cars or 863 million tins of baked beans.

The Triple E will not be the largest ship ever built. That accolade goes to an “ultra-large crude carrier” (ULCC) built in the 1970s, but all supertankers more than 400m (440 yards) long were scrapped years ago, some after less than a decade of service. Only a couple of shorter ULCCs are still in use. But giant container ships are still being built in large numbers – and they are still growing.

It’s 25 years since the biggest became too wide for the Panama Canal. These first “post-Panamax” ships, carrying 4,300 TEU, had roughly quarter of the capacity of the current record holder – the 16,020 TEU Marco Polo, launched in November by CMA CGM.

In the shipping industry there is already talk of a class of ship that would run aground in the Suez canal, but would just pass through another bottleneck of international trade – the Strait of Malacca, between Malaysia and Indonesia. The “Malaccamax” would carry 30,000 containers.

There are currently 163 ships on the world’s seas with a capacity over 10,000 TEU – but 120 more are on order, including Maersk’s fleet of 20 Triple Es. Source: BBC News Magazine

TPT to operationalise new Post Panamax cranes at Ngqura

Transnet Port Terminals has successfully completed testing of two Liebherr Super Post Panamax cranes at Ngqura Container Terminal, just north of Port Elizabeth. The Ship-to-Shore cranes (STS), which were delivered in January bringing the terminal’s fleet of STS cranes to eight, represent an investment of R150 million by the port operator.

The cranes will improve productivity by increasing Ship Working Hour (SWH) – the number of containers moved by the number of cranes working a vessel in one hour. A total of 78 additional operators have been trained and are ready to operate the equipment. Transnet’s newly formulated Market Demand Strategy will see Transnet SOC Limited invest R300 billion on freight infrastructure over the next seven years. Of this, TPT will invest R33 billion to boost port operations.

The portion allocated for the 600,000 m2 Ngqura Container Terminal includes just under R1.1 billion for its Phase 2 A expansion, which will increase container handling capacity from the current 800,000 TEU to 1.5 million TEU by 2013/14. A further R 808 million will be spent between 2015 and 2019 on the terminal’s Phase 2 B expansion to increase the terminal’s capacity to two million TEU. Source: