Amazing Facts about Container Ships

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… read more »

Ocean Shipping in the Twenty-First Century, a Growing Concern

Ocean shipping in the 21st century is able to move record-breaking amounts of cargo with increasing speed and efficiency. Cargo vessels have been built to accommodate ever-increasing numbers of containers, and bulk carriers are growing in size as well. While the size of tankers for oil and other petroleum products appears to have peaked, that peak is at a very large level. The restraints on capacity for bulk carriers are not mainly a matter of difficulty in design and construction for a larger fleet, but more a matter of where such vessels can operate. For instance, bulk carriers for grain are built to be able to navigate the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway since so many of these of ships use this route to move grain from the interior of North America out into international waters. Smaller ships must be used on other inland waterways, which is why all the really large ships are used mainly for ocean transit. The Panama Canal also exerts a size limitation on ships. That country is currently working on a multi-billion dollar, multi-year expansion of the locks and channels in the system in order to allow such large ships to pass through. Currently,… read more »