Economies of giant boxships questioned

Will containerlines live to regret ordering 20,000-plus teu vessels? A majority of our readers seem to think so. With just four days to go until our latest topical survey, dubbed MarPoll, closes 64% of the more than 500 to have voted so far think 20,000 teu+ containerships are set to go the way of ULCC tankers of the 1970s.

Forty years ago tanker owners ordered the largest ships ever built – the vast majority of these ULCCs, however, proved unprofitable.

Many readers think history is repeating itself, this time in the container trades.

“Too big – not flexible enough in operation,” one reader commented, while another noted: “There are signs that the marginal economies of scale have already been reached and that the 20,000-plus teu class is proving difficult to fully utilize.” Many others questioned the huge pressure these giant 400 m long vessels were putting on ports on the Asia – Europe trades.

The boxship size question is one eight topical issues posed. Results will be printed in the next issue of Maritime CEO magazine. Voting closes on Tuesday – it takes just two minutes and there is no registration. To vote, click here.

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