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Top 10 World Largest Container Ships in 2020

The world largest container ships have more than 20,000 TEU carrying capacity in 2020. International Chamber of Shipping(ICS) counts 50,000 merchant vessels in the world vessel fleet. From the world cargo tonnage about 90% move using the sea transportation worldwide. Out of the different types of vessels, Container ships (also known as container ship) play a vital role in ocean cargo transportation. Container ships carry containerized cargo. One of the safest method to carry goods.The container ships can categorize based on their capacity. . Presently, there are seven major types of container ships in service as Small Feeder, Feeder, Feeder max,Panamax, Post Panamax, New Panamax (Neo Panamax) and Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV). .

The container ships has a history starting from 1956. Malcolm McLean created ripples in the cargo shipping industry by introducing the idea of containers for the first time. He has introduced the concept to reduce the movement of cargo while delivery and reduce the damages. His concept has developed with the time and the containers we use today has came in to existence with dedicated ships to carry them.Since then, the race to build the most efficient container ships is on fire.

Container ships build in increasingly larger sizes to take advantage of economies of scale and reduce expense of intermodal freight transportation. Maersk Line’s tripple E class specially designed to focus on Environmentally improved , Economy of Scale and Energy Efficient.
Container ships are also subject to certain limitations in size. Availability of equipment and crane in the ports and terminals to handle containers, deep water depths of ports are some restrictions to consider. Furthermore, some of the world’s main waterways such as the Suez Canal and Panama Canal also restrict the maximum dimensions of a ship that can pass through them.

The container ship capacity measures with TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit). In 2016, Prokopowicz and Berg-Andreassen defined a container ship with a capacity of 10,000 to 20,000 TEU as a Very Large Container Ship (VLCS), while that with a capacity greater than 20,000 TEU as an Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS).

Why Ships are So Big?

Bigger the vessel,higher the carrying capacity of a vessel. It gives a low per unit cost to the ship operator. Higher the carrying capacity the lower the number of turns to carry cargo from origin to destination. It also reduce the cost for ship crew, port charges as well the ships operating cost.
The hub and spoke concept for carrying cargo become popular and efficient thanks to the big ship fleet in the world. Hence, big ship carry cargo to the selected few sea ports (hub ports/ transshipment ports) and from there feeder vessels use to distribute cargo to the destinations by saving time for delivery and cost.

These hub ports are mostly the world busiest ports as the world cargo route via these selected ports

The largest container ship has launched in 2020 which belongs to the Algeciras class with a capacity of 24,000 TEU.

Growing Trend

Since the initial days, ship builders build bigger ships with the state of the art technology to meet the low unit cost with minimum environmental impact.

We will check the list of world’s largest container ships operated by container shipping lines in 2020 based on their capacity in TEU (Twenty foot equivalent unit).

1. HMM Algeciras

HMM Algeciras, 1st vessel of 12 vessels with 24,000 TEU capacity is the world largest container ship in the world. Algeciras class added to the world shipping fleet by HMM. HMM or the Hyundai Merchant Marine is the world’s 9th largest container shipping line with the headquarters in Seol, South Korea. HMM Oslo, HMM Gdansk, HMM Rotterdam, MM Dublin, HMM New Horizon, and HMM Hamburg are another 24,00 TEU capacity of Algeciras class.

Vessel is Panama registered and built in year 2020.

LOA: 400 m, Breadth: 61 m

image courtesy HMM

2. MSC Gulsan

MSC Gulsan was the world largest container ship until the HMM Algesira was build. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) added 10 gulsan class vessels to its fleet followed by MSC Gulsan. Vessels in Gulsan class are: MSC Samar, MSC Isabella, MSC Mia, MSC Leni, MSC Arina, MSC Febe, MSC Nela, MSC Mina, MSC Sixin and MSC Ambra. The MSC Gulsan vessel operate under Panama flag with a carrying capacity of 23,756 TEUs. The vessel delived in July 2019 and production of Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea. 

LOA: 399.9 m, Breadth: 61.5 m, Depth: 33.2 m

Further vessel has 2,024 FEU capacity to carry refrigerated containers. 

Photo Courtesy MSC

3. OOCL Hong Kong

OOCL Hong Kong was the largest container ship at the time it delivered in 2017. Her capacity is 21,413 TEU and first vessel to surpass the 21,000 TEU capacity and third vessel to surpass 20,000 TEU capacity in the world. The vessel is Hong Kong registeres and operate under the fleet of Orient Overseas (International) Limited headquatered in Hong Kong. OOCL Hong Kong is the 1st vessel of its G class vessel fleet. Her deadweight is 191,421.9 MT.

LOA: 399.87 m, Breadth: 58.8 m

Image Courtesy OOCL

4. Cosco Shipping Universe

Cosco Shipping Universe operate under the Hong Kong flag. Her carrying capacity of 21,237 TEU. She could sail with a maximum speed of 22.3 Knots. She has surpass the world largest container ship record set by the sister vessel COSCO Shipping Virgo with the carring capacity of 20,119 TEUs. Cosco Shipping Universe developed to be green and smart by installing an  intelligent system for the 1st time in a ULCS (ultra-large container ship). Multiple cabin monitoring and alarm systems, and efficiency management and closed-circuit television monitoring systems assist crewmembers to conduct real-time surveillance of the unmanned cabins and ship. Currently the 4th  largest container ship in the world.

LOA: 400 m, Breadth: 58 m, Draft: 16 m

Image Courtesy COSCO

5. CMA CGM Antoine De Saint Exupery

CMA CGM Antoine De Saint Exupery sails under the flagship of France. She was built in 2018 and biggest french flagged container ship. Ship operate under CMA CGM and currectly the 5th largest container ship in the world. Her maximum speed reported as 23.7 knots. She was named after the pioneer of the Aéropostale, the writer and the poet, known for his values of humanism and responsibility. CMA CGM group operate the vessel with a carrying capacity of 20,9654 TEUs.

Ship has specially designed to reduce its CO2 emmision and increase the efficieny of fuel usage.

LOA: 400 m, Breadth: 59 m

CMA CGM ANTOINE DE SAINT EXUPERY entered into service on February 6th on the FAL 1 service (French Asia Line 1), the longest sea route in the world connecting Asia and Northern Europe.

Image Courtesy Marinetraffic.com

6. Madrid Maersk

Madrid Maersk is the 2nd container ship to surpass the 20,000 TEU capacity following the MOL Triumph. She is sailing under the AP Moller Maersk vessel fleet and registered in Denmark. Ship constructions staretd in 2015 by the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea and lauched in 2017.  Madrid Maersk has acarrying capacity of 19,630 TEU even its designed capacity is  20,568 TEU. Vessel belongs to the Triple E class. Her 1st port of call on the merdain voyage was Tianjin, China. 

LOA: 399 m, Breadth: 58.6 m, Depth: 33.2 m

Madrid Maersk has a gross tonnage of 214,286 MT and her DWT is 206,000

Image Courtesy J&N

7. Ever Golden

Ever Golden was the first of eleven 20,388 TEU vessels. Imabari Shipbuilding built the vessel in Saijo shipyard for Taiwan Shipping company Evergreen.  She has eco-friendly new generation machinery to reduce global warming. Ever Golden built in 2018 and sail under the Panama flag. Her DWT is 199,692 MT and gross tonnage reports as 219,079. She has a maximum speed of 24.1 knots. Former names of the vessel are EVER, BBAR GOLDEN and EVFB GOLDEN 2. 

LOA: 400 m, Breadth: 59 m

Image Courtesy FleetMOn

8. MOL Truth

MOL Truth built in 2017 with a carrying capacity of 20,182 TEU. She is sailing under the Panama flad with IMO number 9773210. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) registered in Japan operates and owned the vessel. Ship construction done in Saijo Shipyard of Imabari Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. MOL Truth was the 1st container Ship over 20,000 TEU capacity and 1st ship built in Japan over 20,000 TEU. She has a loading capacity of 20,182 TEU and sail under “THE” alliance. 

Low-friction hull paint, a high-efficiency propeller and PBCF, a high-efficiency engine plant, and an optimized hull shape are some features of MOL Truth to minimise her environmetal impact while in operation. These features will reduce CO2 emissions by 25-30% per container when compared to MOL-operated 14,000 TEU class vessels.

LOA: 400 m, Breadth: 58.5m, Depth: 32.9 m

Image Courtesy MOL

9. MOL Triumph

MOL Triumph added to the world shipping fleet in March 2017 as the world largest container ship at the time. Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd in South Korea has constructed the ship. She was the 1st vessel to have a capacity exceeding 20,000 TEU. She has a capacity of 20,170 TEU and deployed in THE Alliance’s Asia to Europe trade via the FE2 service. Her maiden voyage from Xingang, china to Europe via Suez canal was on April 2017.

MOL has construcetd another five of 20,000 TEU capacity ships to its fleet followed by MOL Triumph.

LOA: 400 m, Breadth: 58.8m, Depth: 32.8 m

Low friction underwater paint, high efficiency propeller and rudder, Savor Stator as a stream fin on the hull body, and an optimized fine hull form are some technologies use to redue the CO2 emission of the vessel.

Image Courtesy C.Costa-www.oceanships.de

10. COSCO Shipping Taurus

COSCO Shipping Taurus was the 1st 20,000 TEU ship ever built in China. The vessel is operated by the Cosco Shipping Corporation Limited (Cosco Shipping). Ship was designed by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) and China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation’s (CSIC) number 80. She has a capacity of 20,000 TEU and built in 2018. Currently 01. COSCO Shipping Taurus sail under the Hong Kong flag with a gross tonnage of 194,864 MT and a DWT of 201,868 MT

LOA: 399 m, Breadth: 58.6 m

COSCO Shipping Taurus became the world largest container ship at the time of construction by surpassing MV Barzan with a capacity of 18,800 TEU

Image Courtesy COSCO


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