Even though these are tough times for shipping companies as China’s exports are way down from years past, some companies still seem bullish on China. Maersk is one of them. Maersk has just built the worlds largest container ship. The ship, called the “Triple E “ vessel is astounding in size. It can hold 18,000 20 foot containers, twice the number of containers that the largest ship in 1996 held. To give you an idea of how many containers that is, if you put 18,000 containers on a train, the train would stretch for 110 KM or about 68 miles. Each ship is about 400 meters long and an equally amazing fact is the number of crew needed to operate each vessel, a crew of between 13-22 deemed sufficient.
Maersk entered into an agreement with Korea Daewoo in 2011 to build 20 Triple E vessels, most of these to position a Maersk for growth in China. I am sure Maersk executives have to be a little nervous now with month after month of gloomy economic news out of China and ports full of empty containers. Right now they are dealing with the lack of demand by raising rates. And one wonders what things will look like in 2015 when the last of the Triple E vessels is scheduled to be completed ? If I were a betting man I would bet on Maersk, all the current doomsday predictions about China’s economy notwithstanding. Because I cannot believe that right in the middle of the Global Economic Crisis Maersk would order 20 ships at 185 million dollars per ship if they did not know that the demand would be there.
So they must know something.