As containerships grow ever larger McKinsey forecast that come 2067 we would see 50,000 teu autonomous vessels plying the world's oceans.
While the largest boxships have nearly quadrupled in size from 6,000 teu in 1996 to 22,000 teu today around 24,000 teu in capacity is generally seen as the upper size limit.
Jeremy Nixon, ceo of Ocean Network Express (ONE) said: “There is no demand for 50,000 teu ships.” With the current megaships already sharply reducing the numbers of services on the Asia – Europe trade he questioned if people would really want just five or six weekly services with 50,000 teu capacity ships.
Alan Murphy ceo and partner of SeaIntel Maritime Analysis described the concept as “absolutely insane” and that the 50,000 teu ship would not work. He said with the 24,000 – 25,000 teu ship you were “looking at the edge of what makes sense”.
ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, vp of transpacific trade, Nissim Yochai, drew a comparison with the airline industry where the twin-decked Airbus A380 has not been a big success with it requiring larger infrastructure.
Form the terminal operator side of the equation, Eric Ip, group managing director of Hutchison Port Holdings, said that having already made major capex investments in upgraded infrastructure to handle megaships, “We sent a firm signal to liner operators that that is enough”.
“If you want to buy anything larger than 20,000 teu please try and handle it in the middle of the sea.”