Why Larger Container Ships Are Highly Unlikely?

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  • Many more are currently under construction.
  • Just two of them stacked vertically would be nearly as tall as the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
  • Practically all of them were built in the last five years.

The world’s oceans are currently being traversed by the largest container ships ever constructed, but will physics and economics place some restrictions on how much bigger these ships can get?, as reported by BBC.

Under construction 

When the Ever Ace, one of the largest container ships in the world, eased out of Yantian port on 14 August last year and manoeuvred gingerly into the South China Sea, she had embarked upon a record-breaking voyage.

Many more are currently under construction.

Just two of them stacked vertically would be nearly as tall as the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

If you cast your eyes over a list of the largest container ships in the world, you’ll soon notice that they are all 400m (1,320ft) in length or just less than that, and about 60m (200ft) wide.

It is more or less today’s upper limit for these vessels.

Practically all of them were built in the last five years.

Container ships

It’s crucial that vessels avoid running aground, too.

Such a manoeuvre must be handled with extreme care.

“That’s why the [ultra large] vessels come near the coast, so they don’t face big waves.

He adds that most US ports are not big enough to facilitate the largest container ships.

It happens because, as the waves pass along the length of a very broad container ship, her bow and stern may clear the water whenever the peak of the wave is at the midpoint of the ship.

“You get very large roll angles with not very large wave heights,” says Blazejczyk.

Demand 

“They’re kind of like a shoebox with no lid,” Blazejczyk adds.

Besides all of the above reasons, there is economic weather to contend with.

Investing in even bigger vessels might not be the wisest financial choice in the future though, having said that, at the moment these costs are being more than covered by the astronomical freight rates worldwide.

Such is the present demand for moving goods around.

“Maybe we’ll see that kind of vessel going from Asia to Mombasa,” he adds, referring to the largest port of Kenya.

It would certainly be a wonder to behold.

 

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Source: BBC

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