Maersk Line deploys its first 20,568 TEU container vessel

A range of container vessels, most of them on the large end of the scale, will begin arriving this year to replace older, less efficient ones

Maersk Line deploys its first 20,568 TEU container vessel

Four years after the arrival of the first Triple-E vessel, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, a 2nd Generation Triple E is joining the fleet. The arrival of “Madrid Maersk” at the Chinese port of Tianjin on April 27 marked the first of 27 ships that will join the fleet this year and next, including eleven 2nd Generation Triple-Es.

“Madrid Maersk” is the first in a series of eleven 2nd generation Triple-E 20,568 TEU container vessels. It is also the first of the 27 vessels Maersk Line ordered in 2015 to enter service. Maersk Line will take delivery of the vessels until end of 2018 and they will replace older and less efficient tonnage. The shipping line has not taken delivery of own new-buildings since July 2015.

Maersk Line’s remaining order book consists of ten (10) 2nd generation Triple-E vessels, nine (9) 15,226 TEU and seven (7) 3,596 TEU container vessels. “Our strategy is to grow in line with our main competitors and we do that through a combination of buying new and used ships, and chartering vessels” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer, Maersk Line. “These new vessels help modernize our fleet, significantly improve our operational efficiency and will help us achieve our growth ambitions, regardless of short-term economic cycles.”

Reflecting the need for the new capacity is Maersk Line’s head haul utilisation rate, which hit an average of 93 per cent in 2016, leaving little room for growth without additional capacity. And while overcapacity remains a problem for the container shipping industry, the 27 new vessels coming into Maersk Line’s fleet are equal to just 11 per cent of Maersk Line’s current fleet, compared to an industry average of 15 per cent.

The new vessels continue the tradition within Maersk of improving efficiency. All of the new vessel types are designed and optimised for how the vessels are expected to operate, including which speeds will be sailed and what cargo will be loaded; however, the primary efficiency improvements in all of the new vessels are due to increases in container carrying capacity, which lowers energy usage and costs per container carried.

The 2nd generation Triple-E’s nominal capacity is 20,658 TEUs nearly 2,000 more than the prior generation. However, it manages this within a vessel body with nearly identical length, width and height. As a result, the 2nd generation is ~7 per cent more efficient per container carried than the Triple-E.