MAERSK CEO Soren Skou has predicted the largest ships in the world for years to come will be in the range of 18,000-19,000 TEU given the expected level of market growth.
Although it is possible to build ships with capacities of 25,000 TEU they are not practical today given the state of the market, he said.
Maersk expects to spend US$3 billion on new ships to keep up with demand growth by 2017. Some but not all will be ships of up to 18,000 TEU capacity, reported Newark's Journal of Commerce.
"We will begin ordering ships this year, probably in the second quarter," he said.
Mr Skou said there are no design barriers that would prevent construction of a 25,000 TEU ship, "but with the kind of market growth we're seeing, I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon", he said.
The largest containerships can be deployed only in high-volume Asia-Europe trade lanes with large ports on each end.
"We are the biggest carrier in Asia. We have 22 per cent market share to North Europe. That means we ship around 55,000 TEU per week from Asia," he said.
"If you deploy 25,000-TEU ships, you have enough cargo for a basically two strings. That's not a competitive product. You need to be able to offer five or six sailings per week.
"Unless the market really starts to grow very very fast, I don't think you're going to see 25,000-TEU ships anytime soon," Mr Skou said.
Source : HKSG.