Maersk Line set a world record recently when one of its Triple-E class vessels set sail from Algeciras, Spain laden with 17,603 teu, the most ever carried on a single vessel.
The Mary Maersk, the third vessel of its kind, was bound for Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia, and has a nominal capacity of 18,270 teu, though so far that yet to be fully utilised.
One prerequisite has been preparing terminals for the added size, said Carlos Arias, head of the South Europe Liner Operations Cluster.
“Algeciras has been preparing for full utilisation of the Triple-E for more than a year,” he said. “This included the upgrading of four existing cranes and the arrival of four new ones.” He added that Tanjung Pelepas has had to make similar upgrades and that this was the first occasion when both ends of the voyage were ready.
A little more than half of the containers on board were empty and being transported for re-use in Asia.
Arias said it would be a while before the feat can be repeated on an eastbound journey, but similar utilisation levels will soon be seen westbound.
The Maersk Group has released its second quarter results, with underlying profit for the first half of 2014 up 42% to US$2.4bn, which the company said was “very satisfactory.” The company said the increase is mainly driven by Maersk Line, APM Terminals and Maersk oil.
“As a result of the good progress in delivering on our Group priorities and the solid financial performance across the Group… we upgrade the outlook for the Group result to be around US$4.5bn for 2014,” said CEO Nils Andersen.