Monday, March 9, 2015

World's Largest Container Ship Calls at Felixstowe Bearing Freight from the East

Mediterranean Shipping Company Giant is the First of Eighteen in Her Class
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – The largest container ship by capacity ever built made her maiden call at Felixstowe today when the MSC Oscar arrived at the east coast port. Capable of carrying a mind boggling 19,224 TEU, the ship is the first in a class of eighteen such vessels on order for delivery by 2016 for the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). The company, headquartered in landlocked Switzerland and founded by Gianluigi Aponte in 1970, still considers itself a family firm, hence the name, also borne by the son of Diego Aponte, MSC’s President and CEO.

The 395 metre long ship has a beam of 59 metres and displaces 16 metres and was built by the South Korean yard of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Maritime Engineering (DSME) at a cost of $140 million. She will now service MSC’s Albatross string on the new East-West trade routes between Asia and Europe. Dan Everitt, Managing Director of MSC UK commented on what the new ship represented for the company, saying:

“The first UK arrival of the MSC Oscar is a truly special moment for us. The introduction of this fantastic new vessel complements our recently announced, newly enhanced East-West services to our customers. Delivering increased weekly sailings, more direct port pairs, improved efficiencies and strong relationships with our terminal partners, our services have been developed in line with our aspirations to deliver the ultimate customer experience and are delivered by our dedicated, local UK based teams.

“We are confident that our improved fleet and personal service, together with the great partnership we share with the Port of Felixstowe, will continue to help us to improve our shipping services for the UK market in the future.”

The Port of Felixstowe welcomed the first call of the 192,237 gross tonnage MSC vessel with Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive saying it was yet another vote of confidence for the port despite the up and coming presence of London Gateway, and saying such ongoing business was good for the port, for Suffolk and for Britain. He continued:

"We are delighted to welcome the MSC Oscar to Felixstowe on its maiden voyage. Our relationship with MSC dates back to the 1980s and over the last 30 years we have grown together and continue to work in close partnership to provide the best possible service to UK importers and exporters.

"The MSC Oscar represents the third weekly service to call at Felixstowe with ships of 18,000 TEU or more. As the size and number of mega-vessels continues to increase, we are continuing to expand our facilities to meet them. The extension to Berth 9 will be complete later this year. Together with three new ultra-large container cranes it will boost our ability to handle these very large ships."

In common with the giant container carriers being developed by other leading lines, priority during design and construction was steered by environmental factors. Equipped with a modern low fuel consumption diesel engine and numerous other features designed to reduce her impact on the environment the ship also boasts another feature in common with a previous, if ill fated, leviathan of the seas. The Oscar’s double hull, built to give additional strength and resistance for heavy cargo loads, was, at the time, an innovation much lauded by the owners of the Titanic. Unlike her passenger carrying predecessor, the last thing MSC Oscar will expect to come across however is an iceberg, real or metaphorical.

Photo: The giant box carrier arrives at Felixstowe.