The Triple-E Maersk container ship will be the world's largest ship and the most efficient
By Jack Martin
February 21, 2011
Korea's Daewoo is to build the world's largest ship for Mærsk line. The US$190 million, 400 meter 'Triple-E' class behemoths will carry 18,000 TEU containers, 2500 more than the current largest, Emma Mærsk. Superior economies of scale will enable the new monsters to surpass the industry record for both fuel efficiency and (20% better) CO2 emissions per container moved. In a move set to impact global shipping transport costs and efficiencies, ten Triple-E ships will go into service between 2013 and 2015 with a further 20 ships optioned. If the same number of containers were loaded on a train, it would be 110 km long. If they were stacked on top of one another, they'd reach beyond the stratosphere (47 km).
The vessel's enormous capacity will enable Maersk Line to move the greatest number of containers possible for its customers in the most energy efficient way and with the smallest CO2 footprint.
The Triple-E isn't just the largest vessel of any kind in operation today: it is actually the longest and widest container vessel possible based on port restrictions. And the reality is that the visible dimensions of the ship–only four meters longer and three meters wider than Emma Mærsk, the world's largest vessel in operation – do not fully convey its size.
The Triple-E's enormity is actually in its bulk. Through feats of engineering, the Triple-E's vastly expanded inside cavity gives it a capacity 16 percent greater than Emma (equivalent to 2,500 containers), despite relatively little change in the length and width.
Unlike Emma Mærsk's more typical V-shaped hull which limits container capacity towards the bottom of the 'V' in the cargo holds, the hull of the Triple-E is more like a U-shape. An additional row of containers was added to the Triple-E as well, giving it 23 rows across its width, compared to Emma's 22. The more spacious hull and extra row provides additional capacity for 1,500 containers.
Additional container space has been created in the vessel by moving the navigation bridge and accommodation 5 bays forward and the engine room and chimney 6 bays back in what is called a 'two-island' design. With the more forward navigation bridge, containers can be stacked higher in front of the bridge (approximately 250 more) without losing visibility. And approximately 750 more containers fill the space behind the bridge above deck and below deck using the space created by the engine room's position further to the back of the vessel.
At 400 metres long the Triple-E ships on order by Maersk Line are larger than any vessel of any kind currently on the water. Its capacity of 18,000 TEU is a significant increase of the current 15,500 TEU capacity record held by the Emma Mærsk class
The largest ships currently sailing the world's oceans are the Emma Mærsk class vessels which are 396 meters long.
Other known large ships include the super tanker Berge Emperor (380 meters), the cruise ship Allure of the Seas (361 meters), and the war ship USS Enterprise (341 meters).
The largest ship ever built was the super tanker Knock Nevis which was 458 meters long but is no longer in service and is being scrapped.
The height (above baseline) of Triple-E is 73 meters which is slightly higher than Allure of the Seas (72 meters), which currently is considered the highest.
Other principal measures of the Triple-E include: o Beam (breadth): 59 meters o Draught: 14.5 meters o Deadweight: 165,000 metric tonnes o Reefer container capacity: 600 o Top speed: 23 knots
Although it is possible to operate the giant with a crew of 13, in normal operation, the vessel have a crew of 19 seafarers. If needed, it can accommodate 34 persons in total.
The official Mærsk press release:
Maersk Line orders 10 'Triple-E' mega-ships
Maersk Line has signed a contract for 10 of the world's largest, most efficient container vessels with an option to buy another 20. The vessels will have a capacity of 18,000 TEU and will be delivered from Korea's DSME shipyard from 2013 to 2015.
The new, giant container vessels will be known as Triple-E, based on the three main purposes for their creation: Economy of scale, Energy efficiency and Environmentally improved.
At 400 metres long, 59 metres wide and 73 metres tall, the Triple-E will be the largest vessel of any type known to be in operation. Its 18,000 twenty-foot container capacity is a massive 16 % larger (2,500 TEU) than Emma Mærsk.
At a cost of USD 190 million per vessel — and therefore a contract value of USD 5.7 billion should the option for a further 20 be exercised — Maersk Line is buying the ships to position itself to profit from the 5–8 % growth in trade from Asia to Europe that the company expects, and to maintain its industry leading market share in the trade.
The new vessels will not just set a new benchmark for size; in addition, they will ensure Maersk Line reaches its goals at the lowest possible cost, while producing the lowest possible amount of CO2 emissions — an astonishing 50% less CO2 per container moved than the industry average on the Asia–Europe trade.
"One of the biggest challenges we face in the world today is how to meet the growing needs of a growing population and while minimising the impact that is going to have on our planet," says Maersk Line CEO Eivind Kolding.
"International trade will continue to play a key role in the development of the global economy; but, for the health of the planet, we must continue to reduce our CO2 emissions.
"It is not only a top priority for us, but also for our customers, who depend on us in their supply chain, and also for a growing number of consumers who base their purchasing decisions on this type of information," explains Eivind.