Container ships come in a variety of sizes and types to meet the various demands of marine cargo transportation. Cargo ships are categorized partly by capacity and partly by dimensions. The size of a container ship is defined throughout the world in terms of TEU (Twenty Foot Equivelant Unit) capacity. Container ships are distinguished into seven major size categories: small feeder (up tp 1000 TEU), feeder (from 1001 to 2000 TEU) , feedermax (from 2001 to 3000 TEU), panamax ( from 3000 to 5100 TEU) , post-panamax (from 5101 to 10000 TEU), new panamax(from 10000 to 14500 TEU) and ultra-large (more than 14501 TEU).
The world’s biggest container vessel is the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moeller Triple-E class – with a capacity of 18,000 twenty-foot containers (TEU). Each vessel, with deadweight of 165,000t, is 400m long, 59m wide and 14.5m in draught has the ability to carry 18,000 20-foot boxes across the world’s oceans.
If the same number of containers were loaded on a train, it would be 110 km long. If they were stacked on top of one another, they’d reach beyond the stratosphere (47 km). Its capacity of 18,000 TEU is a significant increase of the current 15,500 TEU capacity record held by the Emma Mærsk class.
The second world’s largest container ship is Marco Polo by CMA CMG afloat at 16,020 TEU. This vessel which is 1,980 TEU less than the Triple E,was launched November 2012.