Why Size Matters: Container Ship Economies of Scale

MarineLink.com
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Image courtesy of Maersk Line

Maersk Line’s first 18,000 teu vessel, the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, which was doing the rounds on her maiden voyage in Northern Europe last week, has prompted much speculation on her economies of scale, particularly as HHI has just confirmed that it is negotiating an order for five slightly larger ships with UASC, says Drewry Maritime Research in a new paper.

The economies of scale offered by Maersk Line’s 18,000 teu vessels are so great that few can ignore them. Assuming the Triple E’s consume 164 tonnes of fuel a day (excluding diesel), the estimated IFO bunker cost of the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller (18,270 teu) would already be 35% lower than a  typical 13,100 teu vessel on a per teu carried basis – $218/teu versus $333/teu. Apart from the fact that the ships are bigger, their hulls are reported to be designed around an average ship speed of only 23 knots, compared to over 24 knots for the first 13,000 teu vessels, enabling them to glide through the water more efficiently.

The unit cost comparison is based on an average westbound ship speed of 20 knots for both sizes of vessel, and an eastbound ship speed of 14.6 knots which is the average of Maersk’s services between Asia and Europe according to Drewry’s 'Carrier Performance Insight' . The ships are also assumed to be 85% full westbound, and 55% full eastbound, which may only be achieved in steady state conditions, when all of the vessels deployed in the AE10 service are Triple Es.

As bunker consumption tables for 18,000 teu vessels are not readily available, and Maersk does not disclose such information, the daily consumption has had to be extrapolated from those of vessels ranging between 10,000 teu and 16,000 teu, but they do more-or-less tie in with public announcements from Maersk and national press reports. Maersk claims the vessels to be 35% more fuel efficient per container carried than the first 13,100 teu ships, and the Daily Telegraph has reported that their westbound fuel consumption is approximately 150 tons/day, compared to normal consumption of over 214 tons/day.

Ship operating costs, including manning, insurance, stores/lubes, R&M and Admin, are also an impressive 11% cheaper – $76/teu carried versus $85/teu carried, although here again, the result has had to be extrapolated from Drewry’s analysis of vessel sizes ranging between 3,000 teu and 12,000 teu in its report entitled ‘Ship Operating Costs 2012-2013 ’. It is based on 2011 costs, which are currently being updated for this year’s edition.

The Maersk McKinney Moller is manned with a crew of just 21, which is not unusual these days, but it is possible to run her with just 13 crew.

Putting both IFO bunker and ship operating cost savings together reveals that Maerk’s 18,000 teu ships are a massive 30% cheaper than 13,100 teu ships on a round voyage basis – $294/teu carried versus $418/teu carried. This does not include Suez Canal and port costs, however, so is not a total slot cost, but the differential in ship operating cost is clear.

Drilling down into this result in more detail, the westbound saving amounted to $121/teu, which is equivalent to approximately 9% of last week’s average spot freight rate from Shanghai to Rotterdam, according to the World Container Index. The eastbound saving was an even higher $128/teu, which is equivalent to 30% of last week’s spot rate from Rotterdam to Shanghai.

Other savings include faster cargo handling. According to APM Terminals, berth and crane productivity of the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller (18,270 teu) last week already reached a record 215  and 37.1 gross moves per hour respectively in Rotterdam.  This compares with a ‘normal’ berth productivity average of between 140 and 150 moves per hour and a crane productivity average of between 32 and 33 moves per hour for a well stowed 14,000 teu vessel. Because of its greater size, an average of seven cranes could be worked on the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, with the maximum going up to eight, whereas only six can usually be worked on a 14,000 teu size vessel.

Drewry's conclusion is that the rush to order vessels over 16,000 teu for deployment between Asia and Northern Europe will gain momentum, despite the fact that they will be too big for the new Panama Canal locks that are due to open in mid-2015.
 
Source: Drewry Maritime Research



 

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter January 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

MHI's Entity to Oversee Material Handling Equipment, Engine and Turbocharger Businesses

Today Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) decided in principle to launch a new wholly owned entity to integrally oversee its current businesses in material

Globus Maritime Reclassifies Board Member

Globus Maritime Limited, a dry bulk shipping company, announced today that when Georgios Karageorgiou, a Class I director of Globus Maritime Limited  resigned on December 28,

First Panama Canal Water-Saving Basin Filled

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced that the first water-saving basin of the Agua Clara Locks’ upper chamber has been filled to the required level in order

Shipbuilding

Crowley Christens 2nd LNG-ready Product Tanker

Crowley christens second of four newly built, LNG-ready product tankers for use in U.S. coastwise trade   Crowley Maritime Corp. has christened the second of

VT Halter Delivers ATB Tug to Bouchard

VT Halter Marine, Inc. announced the delivery of the M/V Morton S. Bouchard Jr., the first of the two 6,000 horsepower Twin Screw Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) tugs to Bouchard Transportation Co.

Damen Builds Cable Installer For Maersk Supply Service

New Damen-built vessel for Maersk Supply Service to undertake long-term charter with DeepOcean   A newbuild DP2 cable installation vessel, Maersk Connector, was

Finance

COSCO Plans European Transhipment Hub

China's COSCO is forging ahead with a plan to build a European transhipment hub, reports Reuters. The state owned shipping giant is expected to make an offer for

MISC Bhd: Revenue Up

Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad (MISC Berhad), a shipping arm of Petronas, has seen an increase of 12.3 percent in its net profit for the 2015

Cosco Merger May Change Industry Dynamics

The merger between China Shipping group and the Cosco Group has given rise to a mammoth company that could trigger stability and extended consolidation in the global shipping industry,

Container Ships

FSL Trust Divests Two Containerships

FSL Trust Management Pte. Ltd., as the trustee-manager of First Ship Lease Trus, announced that the Trust has completed the disposal of Ever Radiant and Ever Respect

COSCO Also Eyes Greek Train Network

China's COSCO already the sole bidder for Greece's Piraeus Port. Buying both would give COSCO a European transhipment hub. China's COSCO is expected to make

Asia-Europe Box Rates Down 8 pct

Shipping freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe fell by 8.1 percent to $431 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1310 sec (8 req/sec)