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New-Generation ‘Megaships’ Could Come In at Over 23,000 TEU

Nine 22,000 teu vessels on order for CMA CGM and 11 22,000 teu ships for MSC, when delivered in 2019 and 2020,  could end up with capacity 23,500 teu as the order specifications, according to Alphaliner, include options to extend their breadth so as to accommodate a 24th row of containers on deck.

While their length would still be around the 400 metre mark, the width is likely to be widened to 61.4 metres. Since these next-generation ships have 24 container bays, 24 deck rows and 24 container stack height of 12 boxes in the holds and up to 12 on deck, Alphaliner calls these ships as Megamax-24 (MGX-24).However, Alphaliner added that the actual number of boxes carried could be lower, due to cargo weight and port draughts.

It said: “All these nominal intake numbers assume ‘perfect’ conditions when it comes to factors such as container mix and weight. As with most containership types, the achievable maximum loads under real-life conditions will be notably lower.”

Alphaliner has also foreseen the Megamax-23 (MGX-23) ship as one with 24 bays in length and 23 container rows in breadth. Typically, these vessels have a LOA of 400m and a beam of around 59m with a capacity of 18,000-21,000 teu.

Other features of the MGX-24 and MGX-23 are similar added Alphaliner: a relocated wheelhouse; bulkier hull shape; increased hull depth and draught; smaller engines; lower service speeds; and raised container lashing bridges.

Interestingly, CMA CGM and MSC have reached a different conclusion on the propulsion of their newbuilds.

The former has opted for LNG-only, while MSC has decided against gas power in favour of an exhaust scrubber solution to comply with the 0.5% sulphur cap regulations coming in 2020.

CMA CGM group chief executive Rodolphe Saade said : “We have made the bold decision to equip our future 22,000 teu vessels with a technology firmly focused on the protection of the environment. By choosing LNG, CMA CGM confirms its ambition to be a leading force in the industry in environmental protection by being a pioneer in innovative and eco-responsible technologies.”

As well as the reduced bunkering locations for LNG-powered vessels, the number of container slots that have to be sacrificed to house the gas tanks is another factor that has until now deterred carriers from the “bold decision”.

Indeed, according to Alphaliner’s model, a typical MGX-24 containership would need to allocate around half of one hold to house the LNG tanks – equivalent to some 500 teu of paid cargo slots.


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