Megamax interest cools

In an ongoing poll carried on this site, 61% of readers believe the ordering frenzy for ultra large container vessels is now over, echoing comments made by Maersk CEO, Soren Skou earlier this week.

The quarterly survey, MarPoll, has one week left to run and asks readers eight topical questions including the megamax issue.

Speaking earlier this week at TPM, the giant container conference in Long Beach, Maersk’s Skou told delegates he had no intention of building larger ships.

Lars Jensen, a partner at SeaIntelligence Consulting, told Splash: “The construction of the 18,000 to 23000 teu vessels is very likely to be the end of the line for vessel upsizing – and in retrospect, having kept the maximum size at 14,000 to 15,000 teu would have provided a more flexible setup with more direct port-pairs, less transhipment costs and more resilience in the system.”

Container shipping expert Andy Lane, who this week took on a new job as director of Asia for SeaIntelligence Maritime Analysis, agreed with Jensen, telling Splash: “Since alliances on the main trades cannot get any larger, due to regulatory issues, to fill larger ships would likely mean adding more ports of call per string and increasing transit times. Fewer strings would be required reducing sailing frequency, and this makes the product less attractive. In addition, the economy of scale of going from say 20,000 to 28,000 teu is minimal. So the risk is too high, for modest gains. Everything has a maximum, such as VLCCs for example, and container ships have reached that maximum now.”

On a snap poll on Twitter yesterday, Olaf Merk from the OECD’s International Transport Forum asked whether containerships have reached their maximum size? With around 100 responses so far, 26% said they have and 24,000 is the maximum size for boxships, while 35% said yes, until the next boom and 39% disagreed, saying that line of thinking would be too rational for liner companies.

Our own survey, MarPoll, takes as little as two minutes to fill in and there is no registration. To vote, click here.

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