Mega container ships on course. Top 3 container ships

By Marek Grzybowski

The fully cellular containership fleet sized over 1,000 TEU currently totals over 4,816 trading units  (26.14 mln TEU) – informed Banchero Costa it the new report. The fleet of 10,000+ TEU containerships currently numbers only 750 units (16% of the total), but accounts for 43% of the TEU capacity. Feeders of 1,000-2,999 TEU number 2,227 units (46% of units), but account for just 16% of TEU capacity.

Mainland China based companies control 13% of the trading fleet, with Hong Kong based companies controlling another 6% and Taiwanese companies 6%.
German owners account for 11% of the trading fleet.  About 9% of the trading containership fleet is owned by Japanese shipowners. Greece-based owners
control 7% of the fleet.

In Jan-Jun 2023, Banchero Costa experts recorded the delivery of 133 units, for a total of 0.95 mln TEU, +126% y-o-y in TEU terms compared to the same
period of 2022.

This included: 31 units of 15,000+ TEU, 9 units of 10,000-14,999 TEU, 4 units of 5,000-9,999 TEU, 22 units of 3,000-4,999 TEU, and 67 units of 1,000-2,999 TEU.

1.MSC Irina

MSC Irina became the world’s largest container ship with a capacity of 24,346 TEU. It was commissioned in 2023 and flies the flag of Liberia. It measures approximately 399.9 meters in length and has a width of approximately 61.3 meters. The ship underwent sea trials in February 2023, and then was sent to the Zhejiang Zhoushan shipyard for final work. MSC Irina was launched in March 2023. Recently, the mega container ship set off on its maiden voyage and began loading at Nansha Port. August 12 moored at the anchorage before entering Barcelona.

  Credits: @PDChina / Twitter

The sister container ship MSC Loreto, of the same capacity and dimensions, also flies the flag of Liberia. Irina is the first of six ships being built by China’s Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group. On August 12, she was at the Sines harbor anchorage.

The ships have unique design features to reduce fuel consumption, such as large diameter propellers and a system that generates air bubbles along the hull to reduce water resistance. The vessel is equipped with hybrid scrubbers. The scrubbers ensure a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 3 to 4%, the shipyard announces.

2. OOCL Spain

Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) launched the first container ship with a capacity of 24,188 TEU. The ship was named OOCL Spain. It was built by Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co. (NACKS).

The mega container ship has a total length of 399.9 m and a width of 61.3 m. On March 25, 2023, it entered the port of Hong Kong on its maiden voyage. The ship set a new record for the port of Hong Kong. It was the first container ship with a capacity of over 24,000 tons. TEU docked at the city’s container terminal. The vessel, with a gross tonnage of 235,341, is currently flying the flag of Hong Kong. It is used for the transport of containers on the Aisa-Europe LL3 service. On August 12, it moored in Rotterdam, in the Maasvlakte port.

  OOCL Spain  Credits: OOCL

The American Bureau of Shipping certified the ship “Smart Ship”. The basis was the use of an innovative drive and intelligent ship and engine control technologies as well as high safety standards.

OOCL Spain is the first of a series of six 24,188 TEU vessels ordered by OOCL in 2020 and delivered by NACKS. On October 28, 2022, OOCL signed a contract for 7 innovative ships with Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co., Ltd. The cost of each ship was then planned at USD 239.85 million. The contract covers the construction of seven container ships. OOCL allocated USD 1,678.95 million for this investment in the new tonnage. Orient Overseas Container Line Ltd. (OOCL) has planned for the ships’ engines to run on methanol. The first unit is to leave the shipyard around the third quarter of 2026.

“The green fuel technologies to be applied to these new ships, in particular for methanol dual-fuel engines, represent an important milestone on OOCL’s path to decarbonisation,” OOCL emphasizes.

3. MSC Tessa

The MSC Tessa container ship was built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding for the Mediterranean Shipping Company. The mega container ship has a capacity of 24,116 TEU. The area of the deck corresponds to the area of 4 football fields. The vessel is 399.9 m long and 61.5 m wide and sails under the flag of Liberia. It was designed by Hudong-Zhonghua and belongs to the category of mega container ships in terms of capacity.

MSC Tessa Credits: @CGMeifangZhang/Twitter

The contract was financed by a loan from China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing (Bocomm Leasing) to MSC in 2020 in a four-vessel deal valued at an estimated $600 million. The ship’s engine room is equipped with a hybrid scrubber. For the first time, a shaft generator was also used, which can effectively reduce fuel consumption, optimize EEDI energy efficiency indicators and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The innovative design of the bow (small bulb) and large diameter propeller are expected to provide significant fuel savings. The 400-meter fuselage uses air lubrication, which reduces fuel consumption and, as a result, reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 3% to 4%.