The World’s Largest Container Ship

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.



The world’s biggest cargo container ships

The World’s Largest Ship

Maersk brings world’s largest ship into service

Video “The World’s Biggest Container Ship” 

The Triple-E Maersk container ship will be the world’s largest ship and the most efficient


Who Invented the First Shipping Container ?

The first shipping container was invented and patented in 1956 by an American named Malcolm Mc Lean, an American entrepreneur often called “the father of containerization”.

Mc Lean was not a shipper, but was a trucker who owned the largest trucking fleet in the South and the fifth largest trucking company in all the United States. He saved his money and bought his first truck in 1934. During those years all cargo was loaded and unloaded in odd sized wooden crates. The process was very slow and certainly not standardized. After observing this slow and inefficient process for 20 years, Mc Lean realized it would be much simpler and quicker to have one container that could be lifted from a vehicle directly on to a ship without first having to unload its contents. Malcolm then purchased Pan Atlantic Tanker Company, which owned a bunch of fairly rusted tankers and re-named the new shipping company Sea-Land Shipping. With this shipping company he could finally experiment with better ways to load and un-load trucks and ships. He refitted the ships and designed trailers to stack below or on the decks. In April 1956, his first container ship, the Ideal X, departed Port Newark, New Jersey, headed for Houston.

Because is was so much faster and organized to load/unload, the cost of loading freight was reduced by more than 90%. McLean revolutionized the centuries-old shipping industry by developing the first safe, reliable, and cost-effective approach to transporting containerized cargo.  The metal shipping container developed by him, replaced the traditional break bulk method of handling dry goods. He later founded Sea-Land Service, Inc., one of the pioneers in the intermodal cargo transport business. McLean was named “Man of the Century” by the International Maritime Hall of Fame.

Want to know more about shipping? Please read our blog to learn the latest shipping news and intersting facts about the industry.


The Truck Driver Who Re-invented Shipping

Wikipedia: Malcolm McLean

PBS: Who Made America? Containerized Shipping

Twentieth Century Leaders Database