Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Maersk the Fastest? Ja! Tak!

Maersk container ships biggest and fastest?

A.P. Moller-Maersk declined to confirm the service speed of a series of seven 4,150-TEU ships being built at its Volkswerft Stralsund Shipyard in Germany, which are thought to have a service speed of 29 knots making them the world's fastest containerships.

Maersk Line already has the biggest containership with the “Emma Maersk” having a declared capacity of 11,000-TEUs but believed to have a physical capacity of about 14,800 TEUs.

Hanjin Shipping’s series of eight 6,655-TEU containerships from Hyundai Heavy Industries -- of which three have been delivered so far -- were thought to be the fastest containerships with a 93,000 hp engine giving a service speed of 27 knots.

Two of the Volkswerft ships, “Maersk Boston” and “Maersk Baltimore,” were delivered earlier this year and are deployed on the weekly Asia/U.S. East Coast TP7 loop along with six ships with speeds ranging from 23.5 knots to 24.5 knots.

The TP7 has a port rotation of Hong Kong; Yantian; Kwangyang; Miami, Fla.; Savannah, Ga.; Norfolk, Va.; Miami; Manzanillo, Panama; Yokohama; Kobe; and back to Hong Kong.

All of the ships from Volkswerft are to be owned by the London-based Maersk Co. Ltd. and will fly the British “Red Ensign” flag.

An industry source told American Shipper that once all seven ships are delivered -- expected by spring next year -- the TP7 will operate as an express Hong Kong/Yantian/New York service with an 18-day transit time. Not only will the faster ships allow Maersk to save one ship on the service, they will attract time-critical cargo that moves to the U.S. East Coast by more the more expensive mini-landbridge from the West Coast.

Thomas Oerting Joergensen, group senior vice president, and head of sales, marketing and communication at Maersk Line, did say: “We are continuously developing more efficient vessels to offer second-to-none service for our customers. Efficient container handling must be achieved through the whole shipping and distribution process. Innovation, terminal handling and infrastructure are at least as important in this matter as faster vessels.

“Likewise, we review our network on an ongoing basis, including vessel deployment, to ensure the best service to our customers. This also includes the TP7 service. However, we have at this point not taken any decisions as to future changes in the vessel deployment,” he said.
Undskyld! Ja! Ja! Tak! Farvel...


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