MSC breaks records with delivery of 24,346 TEU MSC Irina

The world’s largest container shipping company, MSC, is keeping its promise to add massive shipping capacities to its fleet this year.

Namely, the Switzerland-based container shipping giant has added another massive 24,000 TEU vessel, the MSC Irina, built by Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu Shipbuilding Co., to its fleet.

With a massive 24,346 TEU and a length of 399.99 meters and a width of 61.3 meters, the ship is a true mammoth of the seas.

The ship features several innovative energy-saving features, including a small bulbous bow, large-diameter propellers, and energy-saving ducts. It is also equipped with an air lubrication system that reduces drag on the hull and shaft generators that generate additional power.

According to shipyard officials, these technologies could result in a 3 to 4 percent reduction in energy consumption, reducing CO2 emissions and meeting EEDI III overall.

The delivery of the MSC Irina coincides with the delivery of the 24,116 TEU MSC Tessa as both ships were delivered on March 9, according to China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).

The MSC Irina was scheduled to embark on her maiden voyage on the afternoon of March 11th. In the meantime, the MSC Tessa is already en route in the East China Sea and is heading for the port of Ningbo.

Both boxships were ordered by China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing (Bocomm Leasing) for MSC in 2020 in a four-ship deal estimated to be worth US$600 million.

The Swiss-based container shipping giant MSC has by far the largest order book in the industry with over 134 container ships on order. According to Alphaliner, the company has ordered 14 Megamax ships and 22 Neo-Panamax ships, which are scheduled for delivery this year.

The company has invested significantly in its fleet renewal and one of the reasons for building the fleet capacity was the company’s strategy to operate as an independent airline on the major ocean voyages after the end of the 2M alliance in 2025.

Bigger is better, right?

The introduction of 24,000 TEU vessels in container shipping has undoubtedly had a significant impact. These behemoths represent a massive increase in ship capacity and offer the potential for economies of scale in terms of both operational efficiencies and cost efficiencies.

In the last six years, the world’s largest container ship by capacity has grown from 20,000 TEU (Mol Triumph 2017) to 24,000 TEU+, and it’s unclear if the increase in size has peaked.

While these larger vessels can transport more containers in a single voyage, they also pose significant challenges in terms of port infrastructure, supply chain management, and environmental impact.

Deploying such massive vessels requires ports and terminals to be equipped with larger and more advanced cranes, deeper waterways and more extensive berthing facilities. This poses a significant challenge for many ports, particularly those that do not have the resources or space to accommodate these vessels.

In addition, concentrating such a large volume of cargo on a single vessel increases the risk of supply chain disruption in the event of equipment failure, weather-related delays or other unforeseen circumstances. Because of this, shippers must carefully manage their operations to ensure they can deliver freight on time and minimize the risk of costly delays or damage to goods.

Another important consideration is the maximum loading of cargo on these vessels, otherwise the premise of economies of scale and expected cost savings may not materialize and shipping companies may risk lower profitability due to underutilization. This is particularly important to consider as we see overcapacity in the container shipping market driven by a drop in demand driven by global geopolitical tensions, inflation and general market headwinds.

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