Over the next two weeks CMA CGM will sign a purchase order for up to nine more ’giant’ 22,000 teu vessels. Each of which will be larger than the current largest boxship afloat, the OOCL Hong Kong.
Currently lying in 3rd place in the global liner rankings CMA CGM will be overtaken by Cosco IF their OOCL deal is finalised.
But Cosco will only move ahead by 15,000 teu, so CMA CGM will win back their slot as soon as the first of the new vessels is delivered.
After the recent launch of the new alliances and years of the lines trying to deal with excess capacity, many will question the real value of so many additional slots on these giant vessels. (See our post ‘Will giants trample on shipping lines rate ambitions’.)
Industry commentators are suggesting that ship sizes are becoming a “cosmetic” battle among the leading carriers, with the largest vessels being incrementally tweaked to get a bit more efficiency and capacity.
Ultimately maximum container capacity will be constrained by global port infrastructure. With fewer ports capable of handling ever larger vessels.
Given these constraints it is likely that the current class of mega vessels will not grow in a quantum leap, but be endlessly tweaked.