Home » Breaking News, Ports/Terminals » Terminals urged to prepare for ultra-large ships

Port and terminal operators should prepare now for the arrival of future-generation ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs), since designs for vessels with a capacity of 22,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) have already been drawn up, an official of a global port operator said.

“While none have been ordered yet, studies have been completed on the feasibility of constructing containerships with a 22,000-TEU capacity,” said Halfdan Ross, managing director of crane and engineering services at APM Terminals. “So planning for crane and other infrastructure support to accommodate such vessels and their container volumes is a very necessary exercise for any major hub port.”

As of February 1, there were 153 containerships on order with capacities in excess of 10,000 TEUs, including 20 of the 18,000-TEU-capacity EEE Class vessels ordered by Maersk Line, the first of which is expected for delivery next year. There are currently 121 vessels of 10,000-TEU capacity and above in service.

“There are issues of structural stiffness, weight, visibility and wind load, which all must be taken into account with cranes of such dimensions, along with the question of upgrading existing equipment or installing new cranes entirely,” said Ross, speaking at the recent TOC Container Supply Chain Asia Conference in Hong Kong.

He said improved engineering and camera-assisted and remote-controlled crane operations are some of the solutions, though increased power requirements may also pose obstacles, particularly in emerging markets with power generation or supply issues.

“The point is that ultra-large vessels are already in service, and even larger vessels will follow, and so the time to prepare the necessary terminal and quay infrastructure is now,” said Ross.

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