According to the ICS (International Chamber of Shipping), by 2019, more than 50,000 merchant ships sail the oceans. This huge number of vessels makes special sense since International shipping shares as much as 90% of the global trade.
Containerships or cargo ships are classified into various categories, based mainly on their carrying capacity, however, there are seven types of cargo ships named – Small Feeder, Feedermax, Panamax, Post Panamax, New Panamax (or Neo Panamax), and Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV).
Malcolm McLean revolutionized the shipping industry in 1956 when he introduced the idea of moving cargo inside containers. Since then, the container ship race, for building the fastest, most efficient, and largest ships is been on.
We will look at the top 5 largest containerships to date, based on their capacity, measured in TEU (Twenty-foot equivalent unit).
OOCL Hong Kong
The OOCL Hong Kong is constructed by Samsung Heavy Industries in Geoje shipyard, South Korea. Built by Orient Overseas Container Line, this behemoth is considered an engineering marvel, and it is the first of six G-class ships.
OOCL Hong Kong has a carrying capacity of 21,413 TEU, and a length of 399.87 meters, breadth of 58.8 meters, and depth of 32.5 meters. The OOCL Hong Kong is the first ship ever to cross the 21,000 TEU mark, which makes it the largest container ship ever built.
COSCO Shipping Universe
Built in 2018 by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), the COSCO Shipping Universe is one giant ship with a capacity of 21,237 TEU, a length of 400 meters, a width of 58.6 meters, and it achieves a maximum speed of 22 nautical miles per hour thanks to its ABB Turbochargers.
The Shipping Universe was transferred to China Ocean Shipping Company Limited (COSCO) and has become a flagship vessel of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which links China’s coast to Europe and Africa through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.
CMA CGM Antoine De Saint Exupery
Built by Hankin Heavy Industries and Construction and named after the French author and aviator Antoine De Saint Exupery, this ship has a capacity of 20,954 TEU, 400 meters long, and 59 meters wide. It was launched in 2017 and started service in February 2018.
Antoine De Saint Exupery is the largest container ship to sail under the French Flag, and thanks to its new generation engine and a Becker-twisted fin, it is classified as an environment-friendly ship, ensuring 25% reductions in oil consumption and Carbon-di-oxide emissions by 4%.
CMA CGM Antoine De Saint Exupery operates in the French Asia Line 1, which is the longest sea route connecting Asia to Northern Europe.
Built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, the Madrid Maersk is the first of eleven Second Generation Maersk Triple E-class containerships.
The Madrid Maersk originally had a 19,630 TEU capacity, although a series of changes made to the original design made it able to carry 20,568 TEU, making it the second ship to surpass the 20,000 TEU mark.
Madrid Maersk falls in the category of ULCV with a deadweight Tonnage of 192,672MT, it measures 399 meters in length and 58.8 meters in breadth.
Built in 2018 by the Imabari Shipbuilding, Saijo shipyard. It is the first 20,000 TEU, with a deadweight of 218,000 MT. Length of 400 meters, and a breadth of 58.8 meters, it is longer than four football fields combined.
Ever Golden currently operates for Taiwan’s cargo shipping giant EVERGREEN, which is expecting to receive 5 similar ships namely Ever – Goods, Genius, Given and Gifted, It has a maximum recorded speed of 11.4 nautical miles per hour, which is quite slow compared to other ships in its class. It sails under Panama’s flag.