Intermodal: Do mega ships pay off in today's market?

There is no doubt about the advantages from large scale operations that come with massive ships such as Maersk's coming Triple-E. But the shipping industry needs to account for the current global situation so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past, writes Intermodal in a new analysis.

Photo: Maersk Line

It is a delicate act of balance to find the right combination of size, safety, and efficiency when the shipping industry needs to satisfy the market's never ending demand for commodities in the most profitable way possible. Mega containers and especially mega ships are the results of this balance, but do the mega ships bring any real large scale advantages in the current market, asks Intermodal in a new analysis, stressing the importance of learning from past mistakes in this business.

In the analysis, Intermodal refers to, among other things, the recent flooding of the engine room on Maersk Emma, the first massive container carrier from 2006, which has forced the ship out of the market for several months due to extensive repairs. There are other past examples of challenges for major ships, such as the 400,000 dwt Brazilian ship "Vale Beijing," which was transporting iron ore from Brazil to China. On one of its first journeys, the ship received major cracks in the hull and had to leave the market for several months of repairs, while China barred the ship and its sister ships from entering Chinese ports:

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