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Monstrous Container Ships


Each year international sea freight demand increases and with it so too does the need for larger, more efficient ships to carry containerised freight across the globe.

How Big Will They Go?


Published: 26 September 2013

Imagine a ship, colossal in size, stretching over 3 ˝ rugby fields or 400 metres in length, that’s as high as the Wellington Beehive. Weighing more than 55,000 tons without cargo, the Maersk Triple E continues a ‘growing’ trend in the manufacture of international cargo ships, which has seen the size of cellular vessels increase from 137 metres in length just over 50 years ago, and today have the capacity to carry up to 18,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units – or 20’ shipping containers).

Champion Freight took a look at the evolution of container ships in size, seemingly to match the expanse of international trade around the world.

Don't expect to see the Triple E sail to New Zealand anytime soon - it's destined for the Asia/Northern Europe route, and is four times larger than any of the container ships which venture to our shores.
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EARLY CONTAINERSHIP (1956-)
137 x 17 x 9 metres
500 - 800 TEU, 6 containers across x 4 containers high
FULLY CELLULAR (1970-)
215 x 20 x 10 metres
1,000 - 2,500 TEU, 10 containers across x 9 containers high
PANAMAX (1980-)
250 x 32 x 12.5 metres
3,000 - 3,400 TEU, 13 containers across x 11 containers high
PANAMAX MAX (1985-)
290 x 32 x 12.5 metres
3,400 - 4,500 TEU, 13 containers across x 14 containers high
POST PANAMAX (1988-)
285 x 40 x 13 metres
4,000 - 5,000 TEU, 15 containers across x 14 containers high
POST PANAMAX PLUS (2000-)
300 x 49 x 14.5 metres
6,000 - 8,000 TEU, 17 containers across x 15 containers high
NEW PANAMAX (2014-)
366 x 49 x 15.2 metres
12,500 TEU, 20 containers across x 16 containers high
TRIPLE E (2013-)
400 x 59 x 15.5 metres
18,000 TEU, 23 containers across x 18 containers high
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How Big Will They Go?
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