On October 16th, SHI announced that it had developed the worlds largest container ship, with a capacity of 16,000 TEU, four times the size of the average soccer field.
The container is 400 meters wide and 327 meters high. Standing at a height 73 meters higher thamn the Eiffel Tower, it can carry 16,000 6ㅡmeter containers. It is a superㅡlarge container ship that can carry 2,500 more containers than a 13,500 TEU container. The 13,500 TEU container is the largest container made for a container ship to this date.
The ship can also carry 180,000 tons of cargo, which is the equivalent of 2.2 million 29ㅡinch TVs, or of 3 million men weighing 60 kilograms each. A series of tests in terms of wave and weight were performed at the SHI ship research center for two years prior to the development of the ship.
The pilot house is placed at the middle of the ship, while the engine room is at the rear. This differs from the convention for container ships, which is to place both the pilot house and engine room in the rear of the ship. This new configuration doubles the solidity of the ship and optimizes facility disposition, thus raising operations efficiency by more than 10%.
SHI constructed a 6,200 TEU class container ship for the first time in the world in 1999, when 5,000 TEU ships were the dominant type. In 2003, it developed a 9,600 TEU ship, which was followed by a 12,000 TEU ship in 2005. As such, SHI is leading the world ship market, with new economical ships.
The 2005 product is currently undergoing an expansion in construction, which will be completed in 2015 to run the Panama Canal. Orders for this ship amounted to 120 ships in 2007, suggesting that the world container ship market is rapidly being reorganized to center on 12,000 TEU ships.
On the same day, SHI said it received orders to build eight 12,000 TEU container ships from Zim Line, an Israeli shipping firm.
This means that thus far in 2007, SHI has received orders for a total of 37 ships in the 12,600 TEU and 13,300 TEU classes, accounting for 31% of the world market and giving SHI the top ranking in terms of container ships weighing more than 10,000 TEU. It plans to shift its sales strategy to 16,000 TEU ships in 2008.
SHI is currently building a 400ㅡmeter floating dock, on which the 16,000 TEU ships will be constructed, which it plans to start operating in the first half of 2009. It also has plans to make inroads into the polar regions by pursuing research on iceㅡbreaking container ships.
Industry experts expect the world container cargo ship market to reach a growth level of more than 10% per year by 2010, given that cargo transportation is sharply increasing between Asia and Europe, propelled by the rapid rise of China and the growth of India.
In particular, shipping firms worldwide prefer ultraㅡlarge ships for operational efficiency and cost reduction, meaning that large container ships are now a global trend.
The average sea cargo load has increased to 7.5 billion tons in 2006 from 5.9 billion tons in 2000, while among the 260 orders received thus far in 2007 for ultraㅡlarge container ships, 160 ships weighing more than 8,000 TEU each accounted for 62%. As such, shipping firms are expanding ship sizes to achieve economies of scale.
CEO Kim Jingㅡwan said, "Due to continuously high oil prices, it is becoming a market norm to place orders for ultraㅡlarge container ships that can carry as much cargo as possible. We will endeavor to complete contracts for 16,000 TEU container ships, which we have developed to meet rising demand."