Maersk Triple E class

Triple E class container ship Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller
Class overview
Builders: Daewoo Shipbuilding
Operators: Maersk
Preceded by: Mærsk E class container ship
Planned: 20 ships ordered
General characteristics
Type: Container ship
Tonnage: 165,000 DWT
Displacement: 55,000 tonnes (empty)[1]
Length: 400 m (1,312 ft)
Beam: 59 m (194 ft)
Draft: 16 m (52 ft)
Propulsion: Twin MAN engines, 42912.7 hp each
Speed: N/A
Capacity: 18,340 TEU
Notes: Cost $185 million[1]

The Maersk Triple E class container ships comprise a family of very large container ships (more than 18,000 TEU).

With a length of 400 m (1,312 ft), when they were built, they were the largest container ships in the world, but were subsequently surpassed by even larger ones such as CSCL Globe,.[2][3]

In February and June 2011, Maersk awarded Daewoo Shipbuilding two US$1.9 billion contracts ($3.8bn total) to build twenty of the ships.

The name "Triple E" is derived from the class's three design principles: "Economy of scale, Energy efficient and Environmentally improved". These ships are expected to be not only the world's longest ships in service, but also the most efficient container ships per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) of cargo.

The ships are 400 metres (1,312 ft) long and 59 metres (194 ft) wide. While only 3 metres (9.8 ft) longer and 4 metres (13 ft) wider than E-class ships. the Triple-E ships are able to carry 2,500 more containers. With a beam of 59 metres (194 ft), they are too wide to cross the Panama Canal, but can transit the Suez Canal.

One of the class's main design features is its dual 32-megawatt (43,000 hp) ultra-long stroke two-stroke diesel engines, driving two propellers at a design speed of 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph). Slower than its predecessors, this class uses a strategy known as slow steaming, which is expected to lower fuel consumption by 37% and carbon dioxide emissions per container by 50%. The Triple E design helped Maersk win a "Sustainable Ship Operator of the Year" award in July 2011.

Maersk plans to use the ships to service routes between Europe and Asia, projecting that Chinese exports will continue to grow. European-Asian trade represents the company's largest market; it already has 100 ships serving this route. Maersk hopes to consolidate its share of this trade with the addition of the Triple-E class ships.

Orders and history

In February 2011, Maersk announced orders for a new "Triple E" family of containerships with a capacity of 18,000 TEU, with an emphasis on lower fuel consumption.[4] They have been built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) in South Korea; the initial order, for ten ships, was valued at US$1.9 billion (2 trillion Korean Won);[5] Maersk had options to buy a further twenty ships.[6] In June 2011, Maersk announced that 10 more ships had been ordered for $1.9bn,[7] but an option for a third group of ten ships would not be exercised.[8] Payment of the ship is "tail-heavy": 40% while the ship is being built, and the remaining 60% paid on delivery.[9] Deliveries were scheduled to begin in 2013.[10] Maersk negotiated a two-year warranty, where the standard is one year.[1]

Prior to 2010 many Maersk containerships had been built at Maersk's Odense Steel Shipyard in Denmark, but Asian builders are now considered more competitively priced.[11] Maersk had approached several different builders in Asia, having ruled out European shipbuilders (for cost reasons) and Chinese (for technology reasons).[12][13] DSME builds three Triple-Es at a time, and it takes little more than a year to produce a ship.[1]

Investment in more-efficient ships helped Maersk win the "Sustainable Ship Operator of the Year" award from Petromedia Group's on-line publication in July 2011.[14]


Section of a Triple E class ship, under construction
Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller docked on the Aarhus harbour (2013)
Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, passing through Suez
The Mathilde Mærsk on the river Elbe in the August 2015
Maersk Triple E class
No. Ship Yard number IMO number Delivery Status
1 Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller 4250 9619907 July 2013[15][16] in service
2 Majestic Mærsk 4251 9619919 July 2013 in service[17]
3 Mary Mærsk 4252 9619921 August 2013 in service[18]
4 Marie Mærsk 4253 9619933 September 2013 in service
5 Madison Mærsk 4254 9619945 October 2013 in service
6 Magleby Mærsk 4255 9619957 November 2013 in service
7 Maribo Mærsk 4256 9619969 January 2014 in service
8 Marstal Mærsk 4257 9619971 April 2014 in service
9 Matz Mærsk 4258 9619983 June 2014 in service
10 Mayview Mærsk 4259 9619995 June 2014 in service
11 Merete Mærsk 4262 9632064 August 2014 in service
12 Mogens Mærsk 4263 9632090 September 2014 in service
13 Morten Mærsk 4264 9632105 October 2014 in service
14 Munkebo Mærsk 4265 9632117 January 2015 in service
15 Maren Mærsk 4266 9632129 March 2015 in service
16 Margrethe Mærsk 4267 9632131 April 2015 in service
17 Marchen Mærsk 4268 9632143 May 2015 in service
18 Mette Mærsk 4269 9632155 May 2015 in service
19 Marit Mærsk 4270 9632167 June 2015 in service
20 Mathilde Mærsk 4271 9632179 June 2015 in service
Source: Equasis,[19] grosstonnage[20]


The Majestic Maersk in Copenhagen in Sept 2013, shortly after entering in service. Maersk opened the ship up for public tours for 4 days. At the time this was the longest ship in service of any type.
Kayakers under the twin-skeg stern
Photo of Majestic Maersk showing the rear decks, partially populated with containers.


Unlike conventional single-engined container ships, the new class of ships has a twin-skeg design: It has twin diesel engines, each driving a separate propeller. Usually, a single engine is more efficient;[12] but using two propellers allows a better distribution of pressure, which increases the propeller efficiency more than the disadvantage of using two engines.[21]

The engines have waste heat recovery (WHR) systems; these are also used in 20 other Mærsk vessels including the eight E-class ships. The name "Triple E class" highlights three design principles: "Economy of scale, energy efficient and environmentally improved".[22]

The twin-skeg principle also means that the engines can be lower and further back, allowing more room for cargo. Maersk requires ultra-long stroke two-stroke engines running at 80 rpm (versus 90 rpm in the E class);[23] but this requires more propeller area for the same effect, and such a combination is only possible with two propellers due to the shallow water depth of the desired route.[13][24]

A slower speed of 19 knots is targeted as the optimum, compared to the 23–26 knots of similar ships.[13] The top speed would be 25 knots, but steaming at 20 knots would reduce fuel consumption by 37%, and at 17.5 knots fuel consumption would be halved.[25] These slower speeds would add 2–6 days to journey times.[26]

The various environmental features are expected to cost $30 million per ship, of which the WHR is to cost $10 million.[12] Carbon dioxide emissions, per container, are expected to be 50% lower than emissions by typical ships on the Asia-Europe route[27] and 20% lower than Emma Maersk.[28] These are the most efficient container ships in the world, per TEU. A Cradle-to-cradle design principle was used to improve scrapping when the ships end their life.[29]

Dimensions and layout

Some of the longest ships ever built.

The ships are the world's longest currently in service.[30][31] A few larger ships have been built, but they were all oil supertankers and have now been scrapped;[31] Seawise Giant was the largest of all.[32][33]

The hull is more 'boxy' with a U-shape compared to the V-shape of Maersk's E-class; this allows more containers to be stored at lower levels, so while the Triple-E is only 3 m wider and 4 m longer, it can carry 2,500 more containers, an increase of 16%. The Triple-E can carry 23 rows of containers compared to 22 of the E-class, which makes better use of the reach of current terminal cranes.[12]

The deckhouse is relatively further forward, whilst the engines are to the rear; similar to CMA CGM's Explorer class of containerships, also built by Daewoo.[34] The forward deckhouse allows containers to be stacked higher in front of the bridge (which further increases capacity) whilst still maintaining forward visibility good enough to comply with SOLAS regulation V/22.

When the class was ordered, no port in the Americas could handle ships of their size.[35] Suitable ports include Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Qingdao, Yantian, Hong Kong, Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore and Colombo in Asia, and Rotterdam, Gothenburg, Wilhelmshaven,[36] Bremerhaven, Southampton, London Gateway, Le Havre, Felixstowe, Gdańsk, Antwerp and Algeciras in Europe. The ships will be too big for the New Panamax sized locks on the Panama Canal,[35] and their main route is expected to be Asia-Europe (through the Suez Canal).[37] The draft of the Triple-E is 14.5 m, less than the SuezMax requirement of 55.9 ft (17.0 m) at 59 m beam.[38] Handling equipment at ports was the main constraint on size, rather than the dimensions of canals or straits.[12] The container port handling speed can be 29 moves per hour in Tanger-Med,[39] or 37 in Rotterdam (215 per ship).[40]

Anchor and mooring winch systems are being supplied by TTS Marine.[41]



A computer-generated image of a ship underway

Maersk plans to use the ships on routes between Europe and Asia.[31] In 2008, there was a reduction in demand for container transport, caused by recessions in many countries. This left shipping lines in financial difficulties in 2009, with surplus capacity. Some ships were laid up or scrapped. However, there was a sudden resurgence of demand for container transport in 2010; Maersk posted its largest ever profit,[45] and orders for new ships increased, leading to fresh concerns about future overcapacity.[46] As of 2013, the market is still characterized by overcapacity, and decreasing prices for new ships. China Shipping Container Lines has ordered 5 ships with a capacity of 18,400 TEU[47] from Hyundai Heavy Industries,[48] topping the Triple E class. Delivery is to begin in late 2014.[47] United Arab Shipping Company has ordered (also from Hyundai) 5 slightly larger ships and 5 ships larger than the Maersk E Class.[48] Several other larger ships have been ordered by the industry.[49]

Slow steaming is one way of managing capacity and reducing fuel consumption; the Triple E Class is designed for slower speeds than Maersk's preceding class of large container ships. Nonetheless, this order for many big ships is a gamble, on Maersk's part, that Chinese exports will continue to grow.[31] Lack of market growth in the second half of 2012 has caused Maersk to postpone a decision on how to use the Triple-E, and although five Triple-E are expected to be delivered in 2013, they will only have an impact sometime in 2014 when 8-9 Triple-E operate.[50] Maersk already uses approximately 100 ships on the Asia-Europe route, which is their most important.[26] SeaIntel expects about 46 ships with more than 10,000 TEU each to be delivered worldwide in 2013.[51] The construction of newer, larger ships has influenced development plans at ports such as London Gateway and JadeWeserPort in Wilhelmshaven (Germany),[52] and Algeciras and Tanjung had bigger cranes installed. The maximum number of TEUs carried in one trip was 18.024 in January 2015, in Algeciras (Spain).[53]

See also


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  53. ""
External media
Construction photos. More construction photos
Diagrams & comparisons
Official media library
Triple-E at Langelinie
On board at Gdańsk
MMM sailing under the Great Belt Bridge. Another gallery
Time-lapse video
MMM sailing under the Great Belt Bridge
Production video
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mærsk Triple E class ships.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller (ship, 2013).
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