A quarter of a mile long and taller than the London Olympic Stadium, to call the Triple-E cargo ship from global shipping company Maersk big is a huge understatement.
Constructed from eight times the quantity of steel in the Eiffel Tower, measuring 400 metres (1,312 feet) in length and able to carry up to 18,000 six-metre (20-foot) containers (TEUs), the Triple-E is a real sea monster.
The Triple-E has been announced to launch in June 2013, an event that will see it overtake the current largest container vessel in the world: the 396-metre (1,299-foot)-long CMA CGM Marco Polo. Upon hitting the water the Triple-E will run what is known as a ‘pendulum service’ between Asia and Europe, carrying thousands of tons of goods and depositing them in some of Europe’s largest docks.
Indeed, the sheer size of the Triple-E is set to become a considerable challenge for existing dockyards over the next couple of years, with many sites needing to build new wharves, deepen existing harbours and acquire modern high-speed cranes to accommodate the supership.
Interestingly, despite the Triple-E being the largest container vessel on Earth, according to Maersk it will also be the most environmentally friendly, with the three ‘E’s that feature in its name standing for: ‘Economy of scale’, ‘Energy efficiency’ and ‘Environmentally improved’. These eco-friendly credentials are coming courtesy of redesigned engines, an improved waste-heat recovery system and a speed cap of 23 knots (42 kilometres/26 miles per hour) that reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50 per cent compared with the Triple-E’s predecessor.
Initially 20 Triple-Es are to be made by Maersk, with each vessel costing in the region of GBP 123 million (USD 185 million).