World's Largest Container Ship Begins Maiden Voyage

Friday November 9, 2012

The world's largest container ship has begun its first voyage, French container line CMA CGM S.A. announced.

The CMA CGM MARCO POLO, the first of three 16,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) ships the company has ordered, sailed from Ningbo, China on Wednesday, and will return there on January 23, 2013 after stops in Shanghai, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Chiwan, Yantian, Port Kelang, Tanger, Southampton, Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, Malta, Khor Al Fakkan, and Jebel Ali.

The ship, which is 396 meters long and 54 meters wide, with a draft of 16 meters, was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in South Korea.

The ship has a number of fuel-saving features including an electronically controlled engine; a twisted leading edge rudder and a pre-swirl stator, which improve the vessel's hydrodynamics; an exhaust gas bypass system; and an optimised hull design.

The MARCO POLO sails under the UK flag and operates on the company's French-Asia Line (FAL1), which provides a fixed-day, weekly connection between China's main exporting zones and Northern Europe, with direct service to Southampton and Hamburg.

"It is with great pride that the CMA CGM Group launches this new vessel, which is the largest in the world," said Nicolas Sartini, CMA CGM Group Senior Vice President Asia-Europe Lines.

"It shows the expertise of the Group's teams, who are able to handle not only the very technical piloting of the ship but also its commercial operations."

The shipping industry has been moving toward larger more fuel efficient vessels to achieve better economies of scale in recent years, and 2013 is predicted to become the biggest year ever for containership deliveries with fleet growth coming largely from ships of 10,000 TEU or more.