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Construction Starts on Two Record Ultra-Large Container Ships

Construction Starts on Two Record Ultra-Large Container Ships
Construction of two 22,000 TEU ultra-large container ships with record-breaking beam began in China last week.

Construction of two 22,000 TEU ultra-large container ships with record-breaking beam began in China last week. The vessels are part of a nine-vessel deal that CMA CGM signed with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) last September.

The 220,000dwt vessels will be the first ultra-large container ships to burn LNG and will measure 400 meters (1,312 feet) in length, 61.3 meters (201.1 feet) in breadth and 33.5 meters (110 feet) in depth.

The vessels would be the first ultra-large container ships with a breadth of 61.3 meters, requiring ship-to-shore cranes with an outreach of 24 boxes wide, says Dirk Visser, analyst at Dynamar. Currently the maximum is 23 boxes wide across deck and the largest existing ship-to-shore crane is 26 wide. The vessels will also be the first ultra-large container ships with 12 boxes under deck and 12 boxes on deck (for part of the ship). The top rows would be for empty containers only, says Visser. 

The LNG 18,600 cubic meter LNG tanks from GTT are expected to take the space of around 500 TEU and mark the first time a non-Type C containment system has been specified for an LNG bunker tank. Instead, GTT's membrane insulation system Mark III was chosen for space optimization. The Mark III membrane system is a cryogenic liner directly supported by the ship’s inner hull. This liner is composed of a primary metallic membrane positioned on top of a prefabricated insulation panel including a complete secondary membrane.

The ships will reportedly be propelled by the largest gas-burning dual-fuel engines ever built: Winterthur Gas & Diesel low-pressure, two-stroke 12X92DF engines. This 12-cylinder engine is rated 63,840kW at 80 rpm.

“MSC has 11 somewhat similar ultra-large container ships, of which, according to schedule, the first eight are to be delivered next year from July onwards, i.e. ahead of those of CMA CGM,” Visser says. “These vessels will use scrubbers instead of LNG and therefore have a higher capacity, an estimated 23,350 TEU.”

The new CMA CGM vessels are expected to be delivered in 2019. In January this year, the line took delivery of the first of three 20,600 TEU ships, CMA CGM Antoine De Saint Exupery. The vessel is 400 meters long and 59 meters (194 feet) wide and operating on the Asia to Europe route.

The table from Dynamar below shows all carriers (in their consolidated status) that have ultra-large container ships (with a capacity of 10,000 TEU and over) operating and confirmed on order. Currently, there are 501 ultra-large container ships operating, with another 127 vessels are on order. The largest existing ship, 21,400 TEU, is operated by OOCL. The largest ultra-large container ships on order (11) are being built for MSC and are expected to measure 23,350 TEU. With 29 units, a total of 420,000 TEU, Evergreen has the largest orderbook.

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