Last month, Danish shipping giant Maersk placed a giant order for a giant new class of container ships. When deliveries begin in 2013, Maersk's new Tripe-E Class vessels will be the largest ships in the world -- 1,400 feet (400 meters) from bow to stern. (For comparison's sake, America's newest aircraft carrier, the Nimitz-class USS George W. Bush, is 1092 feet long.)
Our friends at gCaptain tell the details:
Maersk Line has signed a contract with Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. to build 10 of the world’s largest and most efficient vessels, with an option for an additional 20 vessels. Scheduled for delivery between 2013 and 2015, they will entirely change the shipping industry’s understanding of size and efficiency.
Called the ‘Triple-E’ class for the three main purposes behind their creation — Economy of scale, Energy efficient and Environmentally improved — these new container vessels do not just set a new benchmark for size: they will surpass the current industry records for fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions per container moved held by the Emma Mærsk class vessels.
Four-hundred metres long, 59 metres wide and 73 metres high, the Triple-E is the largest vessel of any type on the water today. Its 18,000 TEU (twenty-foot container) capacity is 16 percent greater (2,500 containers) than today’s largest container vessel, Emma Mærsk.
The Triple-E will produce 20 percent less CO2 per container moved compared to Emma Mærsk and 50 percent less than the industry average on the Asia-Europe trade lane. In addition, it will consume approximately 35 percent less fuel per container than the 13,100 TEU vessels being delivered to other container shipping lines in the next few years, also for Asia-Europe service.
That last bit hints at an unfortunate caveat for North American ship-spotters: Maersk Triple-Es will only carry freight between Europe and Asia, as there is no port in the Americas with facilities that can accommodate the very big boats.
UPDATE: 21 March, 2011
Maersk has created a nice little microwebsite about the Triple-E series. Check it out if you want to learn more. (Thanks @creatino)
Photos: Maersk Group
Hat Tip: Stephen Woods