''When you get bigger ships, you can more efficiently carry more cargo, so the carbon footprint you get per tonne of cargo is smaller." Unni Einemo, Sustainable Shipping
Container ships are the transport concept that have changed the world. They are one of the key elements in the world globalization. Their introduction made economic sense to the international goods trade.
The largest container ships offer massive cost reduction in goods transportation. The efficiency of that transport concept reveals in competition of building larger and larger vessels.
The biggest cruise ship in the world, since 2013, is the Triple E class vessel Maersk McKinney Moler owned by Maersk, Denmark.
Biggest Container Ship Top 20
The biggest container ship ranking is based on their TEU capacity, except Maersk. They usually do not quote TEU capacity but maximum load capacity with all TEU filled with an average value of 14 tonne. The real TEU may be much higher due to its commercial sensitivity.
|Length overall (m/ft)||
|1||Maersk Mc-Kinney Moler||2013||398/ 1,306||18,270||174,500||Maersk (Denmark)|
|2||Majestic Maersk||2013||398/ 1,306||18,270||174,500||Maersk (Denmark)|
|3||Mary Maersk||2013||398/ 1,306||18,270||174,500||Maersk (Denmark)|
|4||Marie Maersk||2013||398/ 1,306||18,270||174,500||Maersk (Denmark)|
|5||CMA CGM Marco Polo||2012||396/ 1,299||16,020||175,343||CMA CGM (France)|
|6||CMA CGM Alexander von Humboldt||2013||396/ 1,299||16,020||153,022||CMA CGM (France)|
|7||CMA CGM Jules Verne||2013||396/ 1,299||16,020||153,022||CMA CGM (France)|
|8||Emma Maersk||2006||397.7/ 1,305||15,500||151,687||Maersk (Denmark)|
|9||Estelle Maersk||2006||397.7/ 1,305||15,500||151,687||Maersk (Denmark)|
|10||Eleonora Maersk||2007||397.7/ 1,305||15,500||151,687||Maersk (Denmark)|
|11||Evelyn Maersk||2007||397.7/ 1,305||15,500||151,687||Maersk (Denmark)|
|12||Ebba Maersk||2007||397.7/ 1,305||15,500||151,687||Maersk (Denmark)|
|13||Elly Maersk||2007||397.7/ 1,305||15,500||151,687||Maersk (Denmark)|
|14||Edith Maersk||2007||397.7/ 1,305||15,500||151,687||Maersk (Denmark)|
|15||Eugen Maersk||2008||397.7/ 1,305||15,500||151,687||Maersk (Denmark)|
|16||CSCL Star||2010||366/ 1,201||14,074||165,300||CSCL (China)|
|17||CSCL Saturn||2011||366/ 1,201||14,074||158,000||CSCL (China)|
|18||CSCL Mercury||2011||366/ 1,201||14,074||155,470||CSCL (China)|
|19||CSCL Mars||2011||366/1,201||14,074||150,853||CSCL (China)|
|20||CSCL Uranus||2012||366/ 1,201||14,074||150,853||CSCL (China)|
''The Biggest container ship in time" – Container Shipping History
''More Players, Bigger Ships"
The idea of transporting goods in containers is not a new one. The first were the ancient Greeks. They used to transport wine or oil in sealed vests, amphorae or vases. Large trunks were used by later cultures for shipping different types of goods. The containerization, as a modern industry, dates since the 1950s.
''Father of the contirezation" is Malcom McLean. He was an owner of trucking business in America, North Carolina.
The laborious methods were not his idea of handling goods. He was the one that saw that overcoming the highways congestion, the inefficient procedures for loading and unloading cargo vessels would benefit that kind of transportation. His idea was the first biggest container ship in the world - the Ideal-X, refitted tanker. Her maiden voyage was on April 26, 1956. The first biggest container ship carried 58 truck bodies from from Newark, New Jersey to Houston, Texas and this is considered to be the start of the container ship industry.
The 1960s decade was the start of the shipping companies' competition for building the biggest container ship. Companies including P&O , Maersk Line and Hapag Lloyd introduced their first vessels constructed for carrying containers.
After his death in 2001, Malcolm Mclean was named "Man of the Century" (awarded by the International Maritime Hall of Fame and by Lloyd’s List).
The container ships today transport almost 90 % of the non-bulk cargo in the world. The biggest container ship was able to carry 14,074 TEU in 2007, 15,500 TEU in 2008 and now 18,270 TEU.
Despite the fact that the container industry changed the world, it caused many issue. There were huge concerns of handling the biggest container ship. Most of the world ports were not prepared to accommodate the enormous sized ships.
The advantage of the biggest container ship is that it reduces dramatically the costs, the cargo comes save in sealed by the factory containers. There are exact tracking systems, so the arrival of the goods is known with accuracy. The operations are quite optimized.
The container ship industry aims also building environment-friendly vessels. The biggest container ship in the world Maersk McKinney Moller is part of the Triple E class - economy, energy, environment. She sets more than sizes standard.
Container Ships Size Categories
The biggest container ship in time belonged to different categories depending on her TEU. They are divided into seven categories.
|Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV)||Higher than 14,501||Longer than 366 m (1,200 ft)||Wider than 49 m/ 160.7 ft||Deeper than 15.2 m/ 49.9 ft||Maersk McKinney Moller, Emma Maersk|
|New panamax||10,000–14,500||366 m / 1,200 ft||49 m / 160.7 ft||15.2 m/ 49.9 ft||COSCO Guangzhou class, MV COSCO Guangzhou|
|Panamax||3,001 – 5,100||294.13 m / 965 ft||32.13 m / 106 ft||12.04 m/ 39.5 ft||Bay-class, MV Providence Bay|
|Feedermax||2,001 – 3,000||MV Trans Atlantic|
|Feeder||1,001 – 2,000|
|Small feeder||Up to 1,000|
The Panamax type vessel has sizes limited by the Panama Channel. A "New Panamax" container ship will transit the new built three locks. The smallest container ships are the feeders. Their main service is collecting cargo from small ports and discharging it at a bigger one. Then the cargo is transshipped on a larger ship.The biggest container ship in the world is ULCV (Ultra Large Container Vessel).