THE MOL Triumph, the world’s largest containership, will make its maiden voyage this month, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) said.
The giant 400-meter long vessel, which has a capacity of 20,170 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), will depart Xingang, China, and stop at Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian, and Singapore. She will then transit the Suez Canal and continue on to Tangier, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam, and Le Havre, returning to Asia by way of Tangier and Jebel Ali.
The ship was christened in a ceremony at Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea on March 15.
It is the first of a fleet of six 20,000 TEU ships for MOL.
In a statement, MOL President and CEO Junichiro Ikeda said, “The MOL Group is honored to unveil this new vessel, which is the largest containership in the world. The vessel is equipped with various new sustainable technologies to provide more efficient fuel consumption and improved environmental performance.”
The ship features energy-saving technologies such as low friction underwater paint, a high efficiency propeller and rudder, Savor Stator as a stream fin on the hull body and an optimized fine hull form.
The company said these features can reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per container moved by 25 to 30 percent compared with 14,000 TEU-class containerships.
Additionally, the vessel has also been designed to be converted to an LNG-fueled ship in response to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) new regulation to limit sulfur emissions from marine fuels, which will come into effect in 2020.
MOL will take the delivery of a second 20,000 TEU-class vessel in May.
The massive capacity of the MOL Triumph could be coming just in time to aid European Shippers’ Council (ESC) members, who are facing a severe shortage of available slots for containers bound for Asia on almost every shipping line.
Carriers of the two new shipping alliances have said that the shortage is temporary, and is due to the reshuffling of their organization and the re-positioning of their ships to start their new services next month.
Carrier network 2M has reportedly stopped accepting freight from customers of competitors turning to them because of the shortage of capacity.
“Shippers are confronted with heavily damaging situations, ranging from breaching of contractual commitments by some liners to impossibility to get boarding slots before May,” ESC said. Either this results in a very fluctuating freight rates situation, with instant hikes up to 45 percent to firm up a booking, or this translates into missed sales, stock failure, and significant extra costs as some exporters try to circumvent these obstacles by using other modes.”
Earlier, ESC had warned its members to expect problems after the Chinese New Year because 60 percent of the capacity on some lines would be rearranged.
The council has raised the issue with regulatory authorities, suggesting they look into the current market structure where three major alliances control close to 90 percent of the capacity on the major trades.
“Despite carriers not violating any present regional regulation on competition, the combination of a high concentration of players and a recurrent instability within the alliances induces a much higher risk of making this kind of market disruption frequent and significant,” ESC said.