Biggest Container Vessels in the World,the Maersk Triple E Class set to sail soon.


400 metres long, 59 metres wide and 73 metres high, the Maersk  Line’s Triple-E class container superships will be the biggest vessels afloat when the first of the 20 planned Vessels enters service in July, with a capacity of 18,000 20-foot boxes.These  20 new vessels will be deployed on the vital Asia to Europe trade.

A planned family of large, fuel-efficient container ships, designed as a successor to the Maersk E-class,The Maersk Triple E class is about more than size, though. In fact the name refers to the three main purposes behind the creation — Economy of scale, Energy efficiency and Environmentally improved. In February and June 2011, Maersk awarded Daewoo Shipbuilding two US$1.9 billion contracts ($3.8bn total) to build twenty of the ships.These ships are expected to be not only the world’s largest ships in service, but also the most efficient container ships per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) of cargo.

triple-e-vessels-maerskThe Triple-E will emit 20% less CO2 per container moved compared to the Emma Maersk, currently the world’s largest container vessel, and 50% less than the industry average on the Asia-Europe trade lane.The vessels will be equipped with a waste heat recovery system, saving up to 10% of main engine power. This equals the average annual electricity consumption of 5,000 European households.Triple-E vessels travel 184 kilometres using 1 kWh of energy per ton of cargo, whereas a jumbo jet travels half a kilometer using the same amount of energy per ton of cargo.

The first 10 vessels will be delivered in 2013 and 2014, with the remaining scheduled for delivery in 2014 and 2015.One of the class’s main design features are the dual 32 megawatts (43,000 hp) ultra-long stroke two-stroke diesel engines, driving two propellers at a design speed of 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph). Slower than its predecessors, this class uses a strategy known as slow steaming, which is expected to lower fuel consumption by 37% and carbon dioxide emissions per container by 50%.The Triple-E’s are designed with a ‘twin-skeg’ propulsion system (slow steamingwo-engine, two-propeller). The Triple-E’s two propellers are 9.8 meters in diameter with 4 blades each. The engine is an ultra-long-stroke engine, operating with a lower number of revolutions compared to a traditional engine. The total power is appr. 30,000 kW per engine.

Maersk-triple-EUnfortunately for the world’s largest shipping line, the $190 million Triple-E is too big for any port in the Americas and can’t make it through the Panama Canal. That restricts it to an Asia-Europe market, where growth in cargo demand is weaker than forecast when Maersk ordered 20 of the megaships.

While only 3 metres (9.8 ft) longer and 4 metres (13 ft) wider than E-class ships, the Triple E ships will be able to carry 2,500 more containers. With a draft of 14.5 metres (48 ft), they will be too deep to use any port in the Americas or cross the Panama Canal, but will be able to transit the Suez Canal when sailing between Europe and Asia. At 400m, the vessels are only 2m short of a quarter-mile in length.


  • Capacity: 18,000 TEU
  • Length: 400 metres
  • Draft: 14.5 metres
  • Beam: 59 metres
  • Height: 73 metres
  • Optimum speed: 19 knots
  • Top speed: 25 knots
  • Deadweight: 165,000 tonnes
  • Engines: Twin MAN ultra-long stroke diesel engines, rated at 32 MW each, with fuel consumption of 168 g/kWh
  • Propellers: Twin propellers, with 4 blades, 9.8 m in diameter

The hull of the Triple-E is more like a U-shape compared to traditional container ships. An additional row of containers has been added to the Triple-E, giving it 23 rows across its width, compared to 22 rows onboard Emma Maersk. The more spacious hull and extra row provides additional capacity and with the more forward navigation bridge, containers can be stacked higher in front of the bridge without losing visibility. In addition to that, more containers fill the space behind the bridge above deck and below deck, using the space created by the engine room’s position further to the back of the vessel.


In 2008, there was a reduction in demand for container transport, caused by recessions in many countries. This left shipping lines in financial difficulties in 2009, with surplus capacity. Some ships were laid up or scrapped. However, there was a sudden resurgence of demand for container transport in 2010; Maersk posted its largest ever profit,and orders for new ships increased, leading to fresh concerns about future overcapacity.Slow steaming is one way of managing capacity and reducing fuel consumption; the Triple E Class is designed for slower speeds than Maersk’s preceding class of large container ships. Nonetheless, this order for many big ships is a gamble, on Maersk’s part, that Chinese exports will continue to grow. Lack of market growth in the second half of 2012 has caused Maersk to postpone a decision on how to use the Triple-E, and although five Triple-E are exptected to be delivered in 2013, they will only have an impact sometime in 2014 when 8-9 Triple-E operate.Maersk already uses approximately 100 ships on the Asia-Europe route, which is their most important. SeaIntel expects about 46 ships with more than 10,000 TEU each to be delivered worldwide in 2013.The construction of newer, larger ships has influenced development plans at ports such as London Gateway.