Maersk Line quietly adds the world’s largest boxship to its fleet

In typical Maersk fashion, the Danish liner giant welcomed its latest boxship yesterday, which turns out to be the largest container vessel in the world. While Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) from Japan was triumphant in announcing the then record breaking delivery of the 20,179 teu MOL Triumph last month, Maersk, famously cagey over releasing actual ship capacities, took the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) Madrid Maersk with little fanfare yesterday.

The Madrid Maersk is the first of 11 EEE Mark II class boxships due for delivery and according to Alphaliner it has a capacity of 20,568 teu. The series will complete delivery by the second quarter of next year.

The new EEE Mark II vessels come with substantial modifications that increase their nominal box intake by some 12% over the original 20 EEEs that delivered from the same yard between 2013 and 2015. The new versions have the same 400 m by 60 m dimensions of their predecessors. They can stow 24 bays of containers in length and 23 rows of containers across deck.

The bridge has been moved two bays toward the bow, while the engine room was moved on bay aft, with smaller engines installed.

The hull has been deepened to accommodate one extra tier of containers in the holds. Heightened lash bridges allow additional tiers of deck containers, while the new deck house location requires fewer deck load restrictions to maintain line of sight from the bridge.

In container shipping’s supersizing era, the Madrid Maersk’s reign as the world’s largest boxship – like the MOL Triumph before it – will be very brief with the 21,100 teu OOCL Hong Kong set to deliver from Samsung Heavy Industries shortly. Alphaliner relates how ports are now increasingly referring to this slew of 18,000+ teu tonnage as megamaxes, rather than the previous ultra large container vessel term, which is now more aimed at tonnage in the 14,000 teu range.

The actual size of the Madrid Maersk has caught many unawares, not least MOL, which today issued a release saying the MOL Triumph, described still as “the world’s largest containership”, had made a maiden call in Shanghai.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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