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The merits of even bigger ultra-large containerships questioned

The merits of even bigger ultra-large containerships questioned
The merits of ever-larger container ships were questioned by speakers at the Marine Money conference in Singapore this week, with a belief that they will not get much bigger.

Commenting on ultra-large containerships Tiger Investments ceo and co-founder of Seaspan, Graham Porter said: “The 20,000 teu ship is like the A380 (airplane) it's a very dedicated ship for one trade lane.” He said they see more opportunities in the 9,000 – 10,000 teu range, which offer greater flexibility.

Clarksons Platou Asia md Martin Rowe noted sufficient cargo volumes was a key factor, “If these ships can be filled up they can offer economies of scale.”

He also believes they have about reached their maximum size limit. “We will soon see an end of the ever larger game,” Rowe said.

Speaking to Seatrade Maritime News Bimco chief analyst Peter Sand was in agreement. “They can get bigger but is there a point? The bigger the ships get now the smaller the advantage on the cost cutting gets, and of course you have to figure which ports and terminals can actually handle them.”

There are over 100 mega-boxships 18,000 teu are now either on the water or on order. However, Sand saw the supply side of the equation as less of an issue than the lack of demand. “In the first half of 2015 we saw demand growth on Far East - Europe go down by 4.2%, and we have seen indications from World Trade Monitor that world trade actually contracted in the first half of 2015, and that’s dire to any market, particularly in the container shipping market.”