Way back in 1984, I worked for Malcom McLean’s United States Lines, when the 4,400 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) containership, the American New York, was delivered. She was this first of McLean’s fleet of “Jumbo Econships.” In those days, he was criticized for building ships that were too big for most ports to handle. I am reminded of this by the arrival of the 12,565 TEU containership, MSC Fabiola, in the Port of Long Beach last Friday. She is the largest container ship ever to call on a US port.
Mammoth cargo ship arrives at Port of Long Beach
The Fabiola, owned by Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Co., can carry 12,500 containers. The ship is just 30 feet shorter than the Empire State Building is tall, as wide as a 10-lane freeway and big enough to carry the contents of eight 1-million-square-foot warehouses.
As large as the MSC Fabiola may be, she is slightly smaller than the Maersk E Class container ships, which each can carry up to 14,770 TEU. Maersk also has under construction in Korea a fleet of 20 “Triple E” class container ships for devilvery by 2014 which will each have a capacity of 18,000 TEU.
Ironically, containerization was developed in the Untied States, but most ports and terminals are too small to handle the new generations of large container ships.
Thanks to Irwin Bryan and Phil Leon for contributing to this post.