(Yicai Global) June 13 -- Universe, with a deadweight of 198,000 tons the world’s largest container ship, launched in Shanghai yesterday. China independently developed and built this leviathan, which has a maximum load capacity of 21,237 standard containers.
Universe marks a breakthrough in Chinese high-end ship building and will further hone the country’s competence in marine architecture and transoceanic transport, as China Central Television reported.
At 400 meters long and 58.6 meters wide, the ship’s designed speed is up to about 23 knots (42 kilometers per hour). This craft is the first among the six 21,000-container ultra-large container ships Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) is building for state-backed marine transport and logistics behemoth China COSCO Shipping. Both these shipping concerns are based in Shanghai.
The Universe will mainly ply Asia-Europe shipping lanes. Large container ships sailing these routes can now only carry around 14,000 containers.
Ultra-large container ships have become a major force in the marine transport market in recent years, with over 50 vessels of this type delivered worldwide that are able to accommodate 18,000 to 21,000 containers. More than 50 of these new jumbo container ships will launch in the next two years. Shipyards able to build such high-end types have hitherto mainly been South Korean.
Universe’s launch also signifies China’s maturing ability to build the mega-container ships which will become of ever-increasing importance in cargo carriage along the Maritime Silk Road segments of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative to resurrect its ancient trade routes.
Editor: Ben Armour