Maersk’s latest EEEs larger than reported at more than 20,000 teu each

“The only way to tell the real capacity of a Maersk ship is to count the boxes on their Christmas cards.” So said a sage shipping correspondent more than a decade ago – and the same rings true today with news emerging that the latest series of light blue hulled mega boxships under construction in South Korea are record breakers, in excess of 20,000 teu each.

Alphaliner is reporting Maersk Line’s second generation EEE class vessels, currently under construction at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), look set to become the first boxships that will break the 20,000 teu barrier.

The 11 giant ships will deliver between April next year and May 2018 and contain what Alphaliner describes as “extensive modifications” compared to the original groundbreaking EEE ships DSME delivered between 2013 and 2015.

Maersk had originally claimed the new series had a capacity of 19,630 teu. ‘[I]t now looks as if the ships could actually have a notably higher capacity,” Alphaliner said in a weekly report.

Work has progressed significantly on the first ship – the Maersk Madrid – and among changes noted by Alphaliner is the decision by the Danish owner to move the ship’s bridge two bays further forward, while the engine room and funnels have been shifted one bay aft.

“This will not only increase teu intake under deck but also on deck, due to the revised IMO visibility line,” Alphaliner noted.

Moreover, the new series contain a deeper hull that the earlier versions, able to carry 12, not 11, tiers of containers under deck.

Part of the deeper hull also goes to a scantling draft increase of about 50 cm, which will raise the corresponding deadweight from 194,500 to 206,000 dwt. Higher lashing bridges will allow to load one additional tier of on deck containers, now 12, albeit Alphaliner suggests these will likely be limited to empties and lightweight boxes.

Also of interest compared to the first series of EEEs, the latest set of ships have two main engines with seven rather than eight cylinders.

Both MOL and OOCL are also set to receive 20,000+ teu ships next year from another Korean yard, Samsung Heavy Industries.

Maersk Line has a world leading 15.7% market share of the global liner market with 3.25m slots, according to the latest statistics from Alphaliner.

MSC, in second spot, currently has the world’s largest boxships – a quartet of 19,224 teu ships delivered last year from DSME.

Maersk Line officials declined to confirm the Alphaliner findings.

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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