Aboard a Cargo Colossus - NYT artikel - 03 okt 2014 (Engels)
The Triple-E’s can carry more than 18,000 containers, piled 20 high, with 10 above deck and 10 below. But they can sail only between Europe and Asia, as their nearly 194-foot wide hull is too large to fit into American ports or to slip through the Panama Canal.
The industry wants ships that carry more containers, more slowly. Fuel prices are a major factor, so ships now commonly “slow steam” to save fuel, cruising at 16 or 18 knots instead of 22. A typical trip from Poland to China takes 34 days.
“It’s a simple logic, bigger is better,” said Ulrik Sanders, global head of the shipping practice at Boston Consulting, “if you can fill it.”
The bigger ships, though, have been sustained by a growth rate in containerization traffic that has been two and a half to three times global economic growth for decades — and that seems to be coming to an end.
When the world economy slackens, so does the shipping industry. At one end of Mary’s route, the growth engine of China has been losing steam, while at the other, Europe is again flirting with recession.