Maersk Says the Market is Unsustainable... Does Building 20 Triple-E's Make Sense?


#1

From today’s article Maersk Line CEO: “The Shipping Market Isn’t Sustainable”

Some comments on our Facebook page question the rationale behind Maersk’s nearly $4 billion plan to build 20 Triple-E class containerships. They made the call on this about a year ago, according to their press release.

The purpose of these ships is to increase economy of scale, cope with an increase in global commerce, and reduce the carbon footprint of this industry. I believe Maersk planned for the future when designing and ordering these ships. They weren’t being greedy, as others may suggest. I believe they were being sensible. Consider also the massive investment in port infrastructure that Maersk-owned APM Terminals is putting forward. It’s enormous.

It’s all good stuff for the shipping industry and global commerce. Others may disagree however.


#2

Without a doubt, bigger ships bring more cargo in per ship, but they also bring a decline in the local workboat industry of the ports they visit. Bigger ships decrease demand for ship assist opportunities, which means less work for tug workers. Less ships calling at a port translate into less need for bunkering vessels, fuel barges with tugs, lube oil vessels, and ships stores & supply vendors. Shoreside, the need for longshore workers decline as the size of ships increases.

The economy of scale is obviously apparent and benefits the ship operators and their customers. Does the human economy of the port suffer because of unemployment and stagnant wages due to the lessened demand. Aren’t those folks part of the consumer base in the port. Lost wages mean less demand for the non-discretionary cargo delivered by the bigger ships. Less demand for non-discretionary cargo allows smaller vessels to compete against their giant sized brothers.

Where is the balance? Does anyone actually look at the total economic effect these big ships bring to a port?


#3

yes agreed, bigger ships can bring in more cargo and therefore save a lot both in terms of fuel and time too.


#4

There is a good chance when the USD devalues those ships wont be needed not to mention the future where every house/corner store has a 3d printer so you can make a large proportion of what you need locally so the freight business will be a lot smaller meaning less oil used meaning less pollution and less dollars going offshore.


#5

[QUOTE=Lookout;77929]Without a doubt, bigger ships bring more cargo in per ship, but they also bring a decline in the local workboat industry of the ports they visit. Bigger ships decrease demand for ship assist opportunities, which means less work for tug workers. Less ships calling at a port translate into less need for bunkering vessels, fuel barges with tugs, lube oil vessels, and ships stores & supply vendors. Shoreside, the need for longshore workers decline as the size of ships increases.

The economy of scale is obviously apparent and benefits the ship operators and their customers. Does the human economy of the port suffer because of unemployment and stagnant wages due to the lessened demand. Aren’t those folks part of the consumer base in the port. Lost wages mean less demand for the non-discretionary cargo delivered by the bigger ships. Less demand for non-discretionary cargo allows smaller vessels to compete against their giant sized brothers.

Where is the balance? Does anyone actually look at the total economic effect these big ships bring to a port?[/QUOTE]

Wouldn’t bigger ships require more tugs?


#6

Bigger and newer ships tend to have more gizmos that could keep tug usage down. Examples are bow and stern thrusters, diesel-electric propulsion (vice steam), winches with lighter yet stronger lines (vice heavy lines moved by humans that take longer) and computer controlled everything that make arrival/departure quicker, safer and less personnel dependent.


#7

[QUOTE=“SomalianRoadCorporation;111275”]Wouldn’t bigger ships require more tugs?[/QUOTE]

More horsepower, not more tugs. Two 5,000 HP tractor tugs can handle almost anything. (Maybe add a third if the winds is really strong.)


#8

I think you will find the bigger ships are also installing larger tunnel thrusters to avoid the use of tugs
Ever see a tug boat helping a cruise ship these days?


#9

Cruise ships also have rotating azipods and 3+ 500kw thrusters on the bow. However it’s the same idea with cargo carries. The thruster if it is powerful enough would allow them to use one tug instead of two.


#10

That’s not new, lot of container ship and ro/ro jobs have been one boat jobs for a long time. Panamax included…


#11

When will the Industry get back to listening to Operations people. These super container ships will bankrupt companies, Maybe that is the plan. When the airline Industry introduced the 747, they didn’t know or refused to change their business model. Some went under but they all suffered.
Cutting costs , that is a noble enterprise, but does that fit into the business model of your customer?
Sincerely,
Anthony


#12

Airbus 380 doesnt make any money and never will.
Probably first plane in history that makes nothing for the builder either