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2015 welcomes a new victor in the race to build the world's largest container ship as cellular vessels continue to grow behind all expectations.
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Largest Container Ships

Published: 6 March 2015

In the same way an unofficial race exists to construct the tallest building in the world, so too it appears shipping companies are competing for the largest container ship. Just 18 months ago, we showcased a list of monstrous cellular vessels (past and present) and already the featured title-holder, the Maersk Triple-E Class, has lost the coveted crown. In fact, just a few months later the CSCL Globe was announced the new winner in 2014, increasing the maximum TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units - or 20' general purpose shipping containers) from 18,270 to 19,100. It was a short-lived victory, however, with 2015 hailing a new winner...

MSC Oscar

...the MSC Oscar.

With a DWT (deadweight tonnage) of 197,362 tonnes the MSC Oscar marginally increases the maximum TEU by 124, to 19,224. This is an important statistic to note, as it is the TEU that determines the world's largest container ship, not its length or beam. Case in point, the CSCL Globe is 4.6 metres longer than the MSC Oscar, measuring a whopping 400 metres in length - roughly the size of four football pitches placed end-to-end.

Filmed just three days ago, take a look at the MSC Oscar as it arrived from Algeciras in the Port of Rotterdam.

Why So Big?

Economies of scale means cheaper overall transport costs. Coupled with modern, more fuel efficient engines, and an ever increasing global demand for imported goods, the world's latest behemothic container ships carry the load of three or even four cellular vessels which were once considered the pride of the fleet.

How Big Will They Go?

Samsung's Heavy Industries division recently announced it would build the largest container ship in the world for Japanís Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL). At an estimated cost of US$600 million, the vessel is due to launch in 2017, measuring close to 400 metres in length and 59 metres wide. While these figures are on par with the CSCL Globe and MSC Oscar, the maximum TEU will increase by 4.6% to 20,150.
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