CSCL Globe — The World’s Largest Container Ship

Last year, the British port of Felixstowe in Suffolk welcomed a true shipping legend — CSCL Globe — the largest container ship in the world. The arrival of this giant vessel turned out to be a true spectacle, attracting many people to the shore to catch a glimpse of the 19 thousand container monster which slowly made its way into port.

Building the vessel

The engineering and construction of this ocean leviathan was entrusted to the South Korean industrial giant Hyundai Heavy Industries, Ulsan. The company has long standing traditions in large ship building, but constructing the biggest was going to be a challenge. The build order to Hyundai (HHI) was placed by China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) a Shanghai based operator. HHI received the official go ahead order and a payment of 700 million US dollars from CSCL at the start of 2013. Hyundai were contracted to build not one, but a total of five giant container ships, of 19000+ container capacity. When ready the five vessels will outsize and outweigh the current container giants — Maersk Line’s Triple E Class container ships.

Hyundai’s experience and capacity was invested in full in building the Globe. First steel measuring and cutting began right away in January 2013. First sea trials were held successfully by the end of October that same year. Success after such a short time was a true engineering and project feat for HHI, who did not shy away from the build but pressed ahead full steam. In November of 2013, the CSCL Globe was completed and officially christened with a public ceremony in Hyundai’s Ulsan Yard.

CSCL Globe embarked on her maiden voyage not long after completion. The assigned journey was the Far East Asia to Europe route, commencing at Tianjin Port, going through many countries and ports, and finally arriving at Zeebrugge, Belgium. Felixstowe in England, was one of the stops along the route.

The second goliath of the five container vessels commissioned by China Shipping Container Line was delivered at the start of 2015, it was the CSCL Pacific Ocean

Key features and layout of CSCL Globe

· The giant ship has a capacity of 19 thousand containers. Its sheer size and dimensions however limit the number of ports where it can go, Felixstowe in Suffolk is one of those ports thus its majestic visit in 2015.

· Despite its size and complexity, Globe is an environmentally friendly piece of machinery which complies with many international maritime regulations regarding ballast water management, ship recycling, recovery of refrigerants, bilge water separation etc.

· The vessel makes full use of a highly advanced ballast water treatment system which can process up to 3 thousand cubic metres of seawater per hour by filtering and sterilising most bacteria;

· CSCL Globe is a big boy whichever way you look at it. To put things in perspective the vessel is the size of four football pitches, it is 400 metres long, 58.6 metres wide and has a going depth of 30.5 metres.

· The vessel’s deadweight (similar measurement to curb weight in road vehicles) is the staggering 185 thousand tons, with cargo hauling capacity of 187.5 tons, which means the ships moves more cargo than its own weight.

· Originally, Globe was supposed to fit 18 400 containers in total, however slight design changes (but not engineering changes) increased available deck space therefore number of containers the ship could carry grew to 19 000.

· Globe and her sister vessels (when ready) will use the Route Specific Container Stowage — a system which allows for flexibility in the number of containers carried without compromise on ship safety.

The engine

At the Globe’s heart is a technological marvel, which is the MAN B&W made propulsion system (fancy word for engine) which is actually the low-speed power plant of the vessel. It might be a low speed engine, but it towers at 17.2 metres in height. The MAN B&W is the biggest ship engine ever built. The power lump was built by MAN but assembled by Hyundai at their engine plant, it generates the mind boggling 69.7 thousand KW of power at 84 rpm. However the engine’s power output was de-rated to 56.8 thousand KW. This two stroke engine is actually very fuel efficient (in ship terms) and provides for significant reduction of vibrations and noise (which inevitably strain the ship’s construction over time). The engine uses integrated computer managed systems to reduce fuel consumption in accordance to vessel speed and sea conditions. Globe’s engine is also one of the most low-emission power plants ever fitted on a ship. The engine allows the ship to travel at 38.5km/h service speed which is about 20.5 knots, and has a top speed of 41km/h (22.0 knots).

Globe’s career so far

The giant container hauler left port of Shanghai, China for its maiden voyage in December of 2014. Globe’s first port of call was Felixstowe in Suffolk, England (7th of January 2015). Despite its might and size though, the Globe quickly became the second largest container ship in the world (although that is still debated) as the Mediterranean Shipping Company launched their MSC Oscar — apparently the vessel is able to carry 124 containers more than the Globe, though container arrangements must be used. According to latest classifications, the Globe is the 5th largest container ship in the world, outplaced by four MSC operated container ships, listed in the table below.