MSC introduces largest container ship in service so far

Posted on Aug 22

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) advised the official capacity of its new ultra-large container vessel (ULCV) MSC Gulsun as 23,765 TEU, exceeding the capacity of the current largest ULVC, OOCL Hong Kong-series with a capacity of 21,413 TEU, by more than 2,000 TEU.

The carrier states that the new class of vessel had “been designed with a wide range of environmental, efficiency, stability and safety matters in mind” and that it features a “remarkable approach to energy efficiency” via bow design and minimized wind resistance.

MSC will receive a total of six MSC Gulsun- size vessels, each 399 meters long and with a beam width of 202 meters (9 meters wider than the previous class) which allows for an extra row of containers for a total of 24 rows across the weather deck.

The scrubber-fitted MSC Gulson will have to be stowed 13 containers high on deck to achieve the full 23,765 TEU capacity intake. The additional row of containers will exceed the outreach capabilities at some ports on its rotation. At its first port of call, the German port of Bremerhaven, containers to be discharged there were stowed only 23 rows across due to the restricted reach of the terminal’s shore cranes.

There are currently around 50 ULCVs with 20,000 TEU or more in service, all moving on Asia-North Europe trade lanes. Expected newbuilds will most likely double that number by the end of next year, including Hyundai Merchant Marine’s expected deliveries of 12 vessel with capacity of 23,000 TEU and Taiwanese Evergreen which intends to order up to eleven vessels with the same capacity level.

All carriers have fitted their new vessels with scrubbers, allowing the continued use of Heavy-Fuel Oil (HFO) after IMO 2020 has taken effect. The carriers estimate that savings over the use of low-Sulphur compliant fuel after January 1, 2020, will save about $2 Million per roundtrip voyage on the Asia-North Europe routes.