Amazing Facts about Container Ships

Posted : 03/14/13 5:53 AM

Container ships are the largest ships that sail the seas today. Only oil tankers are larger, and at present, with dwindling oil supplies, the largest oil tankers have been broken up for scrap. Currently, the longest ships that are traveling the seaways are the Maersk E Class container ships, which at 397 meters1, is 64 meters longer than a Nimitz Class aircraft carrier2. Container ships are among the most amazing things that have ever been built, and some of the facts about these mass transportation vessels are staggering to the imagination. The largest container ships in the world, the Maersk E Class ships, are capable of carrying 15,000 containers at a time. The CMA CGM Marco Polo, which is slightly smaller, has an even greater capacity at over 16,000 twenty foot containers3. If all of the containers on the average sized container ship were loaded onto a train, it would be 44 miles long4. Container ships also often carry passengers, and there are currently around 350 freighters that carry passengers, more than the total number of cruise ships in the world5. The engines that drive these immense ships produce around 1000 times as much power as the average family car, and use solid fuel with the consistency of asphalt, which has to be pre-warmed before it can be burned. The engines of container ships generate very low speed revolutions of the driving screws, averaging between 90-120 rpm at a cruising speed of around 20 knots5. At this speed, the 9,000-mile journey from Southeast Asia to Los Angeles takes only 16 days4. It is estimated that in one year, an average shipping container travels a distance equal to three-quarters of the way to the moon, and across the lifespan of a container ship, it will travel a distance equal to going to the moon and back ten times. Perhaps the most amazing fact about modern container ships is that, even as large as they are, they seem likely to continue to increase in size with the potential for ships that can carry as many as 20,000 containers at a time just on the horizon. It is thought that the engines that are used to drive these large container ships could be used to drive even larger ones, meaning that all that really has to happen is for someone to build another, bigger class of container ships. There seems to be little impediment to the continued growth of these oceangoing behemoths that dwarf even the largest passenger ships in the world today. References:’s_longest_ships