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Monthly Maritime News Roundup: January, 2017

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The year 2017 is off to a rollercoaster start, and Kemplon Engineering takes a look at some of January’s headlining news and issues in this edition of the Monthly Maritime News Roundup:

 

Image “Digital News Background” courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

E-commerce behemoth Amazon has been coordinating freight shipments from Chinese merchants to its American warehouses – at least 150 containers’ worth since October, according to some reports. Could the new year make it a bigger player in the trillion-dollar business of the movement of goods worldwide, right up there with FedEx and UPS?

Last year, the thawing of relations between the United States and Cuba was big news. The year 2017 is expected to see the practical effects of that diplomatic coup, and January did not disappoint. Governor Rick Scott of Florida has called for state funding cutbacks on ports inking deals with the communist country, and the pressure has put agreements, such as those planned by Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach with the National Port Administration of Cuba, temporarily on ice. Still, a high-level Cuban delegation was welcomed at Port Everglades for a tour and business meetings. We shall have to wait and see how they will be moving forward given the unfavorable political reception.

The Philippines is one of the most popular sending countries for men and women working at sea (Royal Caribbean alone, for example, reportedly employs 11,000 Filipino crew members, with a five-year plan of hiring 30,000). It might seem surprising then, that the Asian country has homeported no major cruise ship – until now. The capital of Manila will finally play home to a cruise ship, Star Cruises’ flagship Superstar Virgo – 23 years after the cruise line first started recruiting Filipino talent.

The year is off with a rocky start for plans to curb shipping’s carbon emissions. The Environment Committee of the European Parliament has decided to include shipping within the EU’s Emissions Trading System by the year 2021 if the International Maritime Organization does not come to a carbon agreement by that time– a move criticized by the IMO as potentially detrimental to their own efforts, which will see developments later than the deadline, at 2023. IMO’s position has in turn been criticized by environmental groups under The Clean Shipping Coalition.

The concrete steps forward may be hazy, but the global need to curb emissions wherever it may be reduced is crystal clear. The effects are wide-ranging, from human and animal health hazards to navigational dangers. Consider, for example, the case of a Chinese cruise ship, unable to dock for two days due to limited visibility from heavy smog in Tianjin, earlier this month. Over two thousand people were on board at the time.

Hopefully, changes can be made so that such incidents can be avoided. Cruising, after all, seems to be a big hit with today’s current and emerging travelers. Many agents claim bookings are at least on par with that of the previous year. Furthermore, Cruise Lines International Association’s recently released Cruise Travel Report show a high preference for cruising by Millennial and Generation Y travelers. Optimism is also high for Carnival Corporation, which has come to an agreement with Italy’s famed Fincantieri for two new cruise ships – bringing Carnival’s planned ships scheduled for delivery within the next five years to a grand total of 19!

The end of the month, however, was dampened by a widely-criticized executive order from President Donald Trump, temporarily barring refugees and travelers from seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from entering the United States in the name of national security. The effects of the ban are extensive. Chaos interrupted in airports in the immediate aftermath, amid confusion on the coverage of the sudden order and specific points of how authorities are to execute it, and as lawyers and protesters took to the premises by the hundreds. Reports indicate the ban may have also affected international cruisers returning to the United States from jaunts abroad, and many prospective travelers both from the named countries and from other nations, have been urged to reconsider their plans of leaving the country for fear of not being allowed to return to the United States. Airlines and cruise lines are seeking clarification on the order, and will be reviewing their options.

Immigration isn’t the only thing that occupied President Trump this month. He had also formally withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal engaging 11 other countries in the Pacific Rim.

Shortly prior to the release these and other controversial orders, President Trump played host to fellow world leader, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May, in Washington.   Among the goals of the visit are reportedly to reinforce the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, and to come up with a trade deal that could somehow offset the possible negative economic impacts of Brexit.

Aside from the potential loss of business from the divisive move, Brexit is also foreseen as a problem logistically, due to customs delays. Disruption is expected at borders in the absence of a customs union deal with the EU, as staff would have to check products coming in from the EU as thoroughly as they have to check those from outside markets. By one estimate, for example, this translates to 300 million additional checks in the Port of Dover. Disruption could be enormous, according to observers, unless there are significant investments in hiring and training thousands of additional staff.

Is it really just the start of the year? To think, these are just a few of the major happenings in the ever-dynamic maritime industry! Check in with us again next month, for another issue of the Maritime News Roundup. Until then – we at Kemplon Engineering wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year, and we sincerely hope the months ahead bring good tidings to all.

If you found this article interesting, check out our blog for similar content on the many facets of the maritime industry. We strive to keep it up-to-date with the news of the day, and relevant to our marine and industrial customers. For more information on Kemplon Engineering and the services we are able to provide, explore our website and learn about welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more. We have a wide range of experience, and a highly motivated team of experts eager to find solutions for your projects and ideas. You may also reach us at info@kemplon.com, or by phone at (877) 522-6526. We would love the opportunity to work with you!

 

 

For Further Reading:

Baker-Jordan., Skylar. “None of the US papers put Theresa May’s visit to the White House on their front page. It’s time to face our insignificance.” The Independent, 28 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-trump-visit-newspapers-american-press-insignificance-a7550686.html

“Carnival Orders Two New Cruise Ships.” The Maritime Executive, 19 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/carnival-orders-two-new-cruise-ships

Faust, Chris Gray. “Executive Order on Travel Extends to Ports, May Affect Cruise Passengers.” Cruise Critic, 30 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=7498

Hawkes, Steve. “PORTS FACE CHECK HELL.” The Sun, 26 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2707697/government-must-hire-thousands-of-staff-to-avoid-post-brexit-customs-collapse-haulage-bosses-warn/

Leposa, Adam. “Friday Briefing: Five Travel Trends to Watch in 2017.” Travel Agent Central, 27 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.travelagentcentral.com/running-your-business/five-travel-trends-to-watch-2017

“Manila to Homeport its First Cruise Ship.” The Maritime Executive, 15 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/manila-to-homeport-its-first-cruise-ship

“NGOs Criticize IMO for Opposing EU Carbon Plan.” The Maritime Executive, 11 Jan 2017. Web. 02 Feb 2017. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/ngos-criticize-imo-for-opposing-eu-carbon-plan

Shead, Sam. “Amazon has entered the trillion dollar ocean freight business.” Business Insider, 26 Jan 2017. Web. 02 Feb 2017. http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-entered-shipping-industry-freight-china-2017-1

Smith, David. “Trump withdraws from Trans-Pacific Partnership amid flurry of orders.” The Guardian, 23 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/23/donald-trump-first-orders-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp

Walker, Jim. “RCCL to Hire 30,000 Filipino Crew Members Over Next Five Years.” Jim Walkers’s Cruise Law News, 27 Jan 2016. Web. 02 Feb 2017. http://www.cruiselawnews.com/2016/01/articles/crew-news/rccl-to-hire-30000-filipino-crew-members-over-next-five-years/

Whitefield, Mimi, Amy Sherman and Patricia Mazzezi. “Cuban delegation arrives amid threats by Gov. Scott to cut funding to ports that sign pacts.” Miami Herald, 26 Jan 2017. Web. 02 Feb 2017. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article128866679.html

Ye, Josh. “Chinese cruise ship ‘stuck at sea for two days in smog’.” South China Morning Post, 04 Jan 2017. Web. 03 Feb 2017. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2059214/chinese-cruise-ship-stuck-sea-two-days-smog

Zorthian, Julia. “Amazon Has Quietly Ventured Into the Ocean Freight Business.” Fortune.com, 27 Jan 2017. Web. 02 Feb 2017. http://fortune.com/2017/01/26/amazon-ocean-freight-business/

 

Role of the Academic-Business Collaboration in the Manufacturing Resurgence in Florida & the United States

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Win-Win Partnership

CNC Laser Cutting Services, Marine Engineering Companies, Welding Fabrication Companies, Laser Metal Cutting Machine, and Heavy Rigging Equipment in Florida and the United States are resurging with a vengeance as the manufacturing sector posts consistent healthy gains.

One important reason for this phenomenon is the long-standing, organic linkage between American universities and American businesses. Such partnerships have inspired and nurtured innovation to pull out the near-impossible.

GE’s located its plant for jet-engine parts in seemingly faraway Batesville, Mississippi because the Mississippi State University’s is an expert in the new materials needed for such parts.

The partnership between University of Akron and the nation’s top tire makers in the city of Akron develops and commercializes innovative polymers. Textiles inspire a similar partnership in North Carolina.

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Developments in Unmanned Ship Technology

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Groundbreaking Development in the Making

Unmanned ships will start operating in the next ten to fifteen years says Bjorn Age Hjollo, the e-Navigation project manager of mapping services company NAVTOR. The company is representing the maritime industry in the EU-funded ENABLE project for checking autonomous vessels for safety.

 

Unmanned Ships will Operate with Varying Degrees of Human Intervention
Image Courtesy of NorthBySouthBaranof at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bridge_of_the_RV_Sikuliaq.jpg

Back in May 2013 at the Shipping Industry Conference in London, audience and even some co-panelists wrote off Oskar Levander’s suggestion of unmanned ships soon becoming a reality. The Vice President of Innovation at Marine Rolls-Royce is used to such reactions on his favorite topic.

The world seems to have come a long way from May 2013. Just to put things in perspective, over 90% of the volume of world’s goods are transported via ships. Anything that affects the health of shipping therefore has global ramifications.

Other similar projects include Rolls-Royce Blue Ocean Team’s Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA) and the Hronn unmanned vessel, a partnership between the UK-based Automated Ships and Norway-based Kongsberg.

In October 2016, the Norwegian Maritime Authority and Norway’s Coastal Administration opened near Trondheimsfjord, northern Norway the world’s first area dedicated to autonomous ships. The Danish Maritime Authority is partnering with the Technical University of Denmark for a similar objective.

While unmanned ships offer numerous cost and environmental advantages, there are several concerns on how safe they are. Then again, these are exposed to hacking by cyber hackers. And the million dollar investments they require beg asking whether the cost savings are worth the benefit.

The Different Projects for Developing Unmanned Vessels

Before moving ahead, we must mention the Level of Autonomy because, in the general perception, autonomous ships operate with artificial intelligence and without human contribution. This is not entirely true.

 

Engine Rooms of Unmanned Ships will Use Minimal Number of Humans
Image Courtesy of Clipper (Assumed) at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DSCF0443.JPG

Leading classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) has defined six levels of autonomy from AL 1 to AL 6. Only AL 6 is a completely autonomous ship capable of operating with no onboard crew at all.

Originally designed to prove, verify, and validate the safety of autonomous cars, ENABLE branched out to doing the same for autonomous ships. ENABLE will be operational till 2019 with special focus on the remote bridge or the shore-based bridge concept.

Car makers have already made substantial developments in this regard. NAVTOR is working with research institutes and car makers to test the validity of the software used for the remote bridge concept.

Secure data transmission is a huge challenge for such vessels. Other partners in the ENABLE project include IBM, Renault, Philips, Siemens, Philips Medical Systems, and Tieto.

 

 

Manned Ships May Soon be a Thing of the Past
Image Courtesy of the United Kingdom Government at http://www.iwm.org.uk/
Retrieved From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Officers_on_the_bridge.jpg

Rolls-Royce Blue Ocean Team’s Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA) is a €6.6 million project to design unmanned ships by building the technological and regulatory readiness for commercial operations of the first demonstrator of such a vessel.

AAWA has pooled the intellect of ship designers, universities, classification societies, and shipbuilders to assess the technical, regulatory, social, economical, and legal factors necessary to build such a ship. Currently, it is in the second phase and will be complete by end-2017.

Rolls-Royce has the experience to coordinate multi-disciplinary teams to design complicated technologies. The company also has the technical capacity for vessel design, power and propulsion equipment, and integration of complex systems, all necessary for making unmanned ships a reality.

Testing and validation of large ships requires a dedicated maritime area. The Norwegian Maritime Authority and Norway’s Coastal Administration opened the world’s first area dedicated to autonomous ships near Trondheimsfjord, northern Norway in October 2016.

UK-based Automated Ships and Norway-based Kongsberg are looking to build the Hronn, the world’s first unmanned and fully automated vessel for offshore operations. It will be designed for scientific industry, offshore energy, and fish-farming and will utilize the Trondheimsfjord area for trials.

Pros, Cons, & Challenges

The technology for autonomous ships is moving ahead steadily. Experts believe the global maritime community will view it seriously only when the International Maritime Organization (IMO) established guidelines for their operation in international waters.

As yet, the IMO has not done so. The Maritime Autonomous Systems Regulatory Working Group (MASRWG) in the UK has however defined a code of conduct for surface maritime autonomous systems and will soon come out with a code of practice.

 

Bridge of a Cruise Ship that Allows 360-Degree View
Image Courtesy of Uploader at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sapphire_Princess_Humongous_Ship_III.jpg

Shipowners will favor unmanned ships on account of the cost and environment advantage they have to offer. Regulators, insurance operators, and labor unions are not that happy.

According to industry consultant Moore Stephens LLP, crew cost makes up 44% of the total, the single largest expense. Rolls-Royce believes the era of inexpensive shipping is coming to an end as oil prices will pick up after a prolonged slump.

And they have. In November 2016, member countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to cut oil productions in a bid to halt the fall and fall of global crude oil prices. Prices shot up immediately.

Even while OPEC members were struggling to make the decision on production cuts, in October 2016 to be precise, the World Bank had raised the 2017 estimate for crude oil prices from $53 per barrel to $55 per barrel.

Ships that do not carry seafarers are devoid of seafarer facilities such as accommodation, water storage, heating, air conditioning, and waste treatment apparatus. Such ships can be 5% lighter and burn 12-15% less fuel.

Rolls-Royce intends to make such ships use the most eco-friendly fuels. This will offset the cost needed to comply with the increasingly exacting environment norms of the near future. These ships will also have solar and wind power assistance while boasting of hulls that create minimum drag.

Navigation in open seas is not a great challenge. We already have specialist cameras that can provide better visuals than humans during days, nights, and fogs. Not to mention the navigational capacity added by RADARs and SONARs.

But are the cost and expense worth the benefits? Taking 44% as the crew cost, large container ships spend about $3,299 per day. The investment into unmanned ships runs into millions of dollars.

Cyber security remains critical for the success of unmanned ships for these can be misguided by hackers – a third party, a company employee, or an inadvertent threat. The use of military grade technology is a possible but highly exorbitant solution.

Then again, there are serious concerns about the number of seafarer jobs such ships will cut. All disruptive technologies generate the job loss bogey the way computers did back in the 1970s. In recent times, 3D Printing has partly created this job-loss ogre.

It is for this reason that the International Transport Workers Federation is opposing autonomous vessels. Over the long term however such technologies create more jobs than they cut. And the unmanned ships technology is decades away from being disruptive.

According to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty AG, most maritime accidents are a result of human errors. Theoretically, unmanned ships would be free of such accidents. But that is only half the story.

Often, it is the incompatibility between humans and technology that causes accidents. The makers of unmanned ships will have to take pains to ensure there is absolutely no incompatibility between diverse disciplines and technologies that go into making autonomous vessels.

And navigating unmanned ships in and near ports would be impossible considering the immense complexity involved. Similarly, ships carrying hazardous cargo will have to be manned. And we will require humans at ports to load, unload, repair, and maintain ships.

Finally

Technology is here to stay. Innovations create a set of critics and a group of admirers. And there are the fence sitters in between. It is only after the technology demonstrates its utility, safety, and reliability that it becomes widely acceptable. As yet, unmanned ships are far from this mark.

Visit our blog for more on cutting edge advances in the shipping industry.

But if you are interested in astounding marine fabrication services, marine pipe fitting, and large scale custom metal fabrication, visit Kemplon Engineering.

CyClaDes & the Human Centered Design (HCD) of Ships

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Ship Design with a Human Touch

Like fire, technology is a good servant but a bad master. Technology can create its own set of issues and challenges. And sometimes excessive reliance on technology while ignoring instincts can and has caused many a disaster in the maritime world and beyond.

 

The Bridge of a Ship with Controls & Display Systems
Image Courtesy of NorthBy SouthBaranof at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bridge_of_the_RV_Sikuliaq.jpg

CyClaDes stands for Crew-Centered Design and Operation of Ships and Ship Systems. It seeks to integrate the human element into the design and operational lifecycle of ships. Human Centered Design (HCD) places the human perspective at the focal point during all design stages.

The idea behind CyClaDes was to bring together all professionals associated with ship design viz. shipyard personnel, suppliers, operators, and the seafarer community. CyClaDes has already established an e-learning avenue that offers precious guidelines for shipyards, designers, and shipowners

Funded by the European Union (EU) and led by the German classification society Germanischer Lloyd, the €4.2 million CyClaDes project includes fourteen partners – classification societies and manufacturers – from nine countries. It started in October 2012 and was complete in September 2015.

In over a year however, HCD has remained largely unknown to the designers and operators of ships and onboard equipment. It was with the objective to raise awareness of HCD that the Nautical Institute presented the second edition of the Improving Ship Operational Design booklet in late-2016.

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How Ports in Florida are Propelling its Economy

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Economic Sunshine in the Sunshine State

Between 2012 and 2016, the fifteen major ports of Florida added 200,000 jobs and handled 7.9 million tons more cargo. And at $117.6 billion, the economic operations of these ports contribute 13.35% of the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Ports of Florida
Image Courtesy of Google Maps at 1

 

These are some of the observations recorded in the study The Statewide Economic Impacts of Florida Seaports authored by the Florida Ports Council. Impressive figures these! And by the looks of it, sunny economic weather is here to stay in Florida.

Governor of Florida, Rick Scott celebrated some of these achievements on December 13 this year at Port Tampa Bay, the port that commissioned two cranes capable of dealing with post-Panamax ships.

Over the last five years, the state has invested $1 billion in its ports. The investment has started bearing fruit and the results are no less than spectacular. These achievements are only the beginning.

Governor Scott has set his sights much higher. He wants these ports and the vibrant economic activity they inspire to make Florida a gateway to Latin America given the fact that the Panama Canal has just been expanded to support larger ships.

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Maritime Industry News 2016: The Year in Review

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Kemplon Engineering looks back at the whirlwind year that was 2016 – which was, for all its strokes of bad luck and bold brilliance, certainly a year for the history books. Here are a few of the news and major issues that grabbed maritime industry headlines over the last twelve months:

Image “Old Clock” courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS.2016 had started off with a proverbial bang, with January seeing the apprehension of American sailors who had inadvertently strayed into Iranian territorial waters. The situation was rapidly diffused amid improvements in U.S. – Iran relations.

Diplomacy is not faring very well on the other side of the world too, with China’s Territorial Ambitions running afoul of its neighbors’ economic and sovereign interests. Just like the previous years (territorial disputes in Asia is no stranger to our Year in Review lists), rightful ownership of small islands is contested by various country claimants, with incredible stakes – national pride, for one, but also exclusive economic zones for fishing, control over crucial shipping routes, strategic military outposts, and a potential wealth in untapped natural resource deposits.Far less rosy is the picture of United States – Russia relations. The tumultuous year saw a number of tense, Cold War era-type interactions between the two superpowers, among them a June encounter between Russian Navy frigate Yaroslav Mudry and the United States’ USS Gravely and USS Harry S. Truman, on top of failed efforts to cooperate and help end the civil war in Syria. 2016 ends with sanctions and the expulsion of Russian diplomats, amid allegations of interference in the United States’ November elections. This situation is still developing.

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Monthly Maritime News Roundup: November, 2016

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^ Image “News Map Shows Worldwide Journalism Or Media Information” courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

November, 2016 may have already come and gone, but this month’s dramatic events signal changes that have just begun. Kemplon Engineering takes a look back at some of the industry’s major news and developments, in this edition of the Monthly Maritime News Roundup:

November kicked off with the surprise victory of Donal Trump as president-elect of the United States of America. With his campaign promises slanted toward protectionism – championing local manufacturing, railing against the outsourcing of jobs to cheaper foreign markets, criticizing international trade agreements like the NAFTA, calling for China to be labeled as a currency manipulator, etc. – there may be some uncertainties on the horizon for the maritime industry, notably with shipping which is impacted by trade, as well as in defense which is impacted by foreign policy. Read More

International Workboat Show 2016

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The International Workboat Show is the major marine industry-related trade event in North America. It is an annual expo held in New Orleans for any commercial vessel owners, builders, operators and even vendors and suppliers to make genuine connection and network among the best in the industry.

This year’s International Workboat Show will be held in Morial Convention Center in New Orleans from Nov 30th to Dec 3rd. It is expected that over 15,000 members of the commercial marine industry will gather from across the globe to network, promote new trends and reveal innovative products, solutions and strategies that could give extreme benefits in the related business in 2017 and beyond. Read More

FABTECH 2016: North America’s Top Metal Manufacturing Event

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^ Busy Scenes at FABTECH – Image Courtesy of FABTECH Expo at http://www.fabtechexpo.com/attend

Undisputed Preeminence

North America’s Largest Metal Forming, Fabricating, Welding, and Finishing Event, is how their official website describes FABTECH.

With over 1,300 exhibitors and 28,000 attendees flocking at the 550,000 square foot Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada in mid-November, FABTECH 2016 did more than just live up to its reputation.

FABTECH 2012 was held at this very venue and ended up garnering 93 leads per exhibitor – a total of 117,487 leads. Quite a return for a modest investment! But FABTECH is more than just about sales and networking. Read More

The Impact of Colossal Container Ships: Implications & Limitations of the Size Race

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^ Delwaide Dock at the Port of Antwerp
Image Courtesy of Arminius from nl at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zicht_op_het_Delwaidedok.jpg

How Big is Too Big?

Perhaps it is their length that makes them look mammoth. Or the endless rows of stacked containers. Be as it may, latest generation container ships carry over 19,000 containers of twenty foot equivalent (TEU) size. And by the looks of it, they are about to get bigger.

MSC Oscar is the largest-capacity container vessel in the world at present with a 19,224 TEU capacity. It captured the top spot in January 2015 after ending the short, two-month reign of the 19,000 TEU CSCL Globe. We may well see 21,000 TEU capacity ships by 2017.

Container ships are the veritable work horses of the global economy when it comes to transporting consumer goods. Please note, shipping carries 90% of the globally traded merchandise. Read More