Drewry Study Warns of Diminishing Economies from Megaships
Drewry, global shipping consultancy, has carried out a simulation study of the operational and financial impacts on lines, terminal operators, ports and other supply chain stakeholders as vessel size increases up to and beyond 18,000 TEU.
The study results suggest that the economies of scale, that have been a key feature of the liner industry, may be running out.
Larger vessels place greater demands on ports, where channels have to cater for deeper draughts and on terminals, which need to upgrade equipment, yard facilities and manning levels to effectively handle increased peak cargo volumes.
On a total ‘system cost’ basis the study found that the upsizing of vessels provides only modest savings for the overall supply chain with efficiency gains being further eroded as vessels size increases beyond 18,000 teu.
Drewry expects that even with no further increase in maximum vessel size, the sheer number of mega vessels expected to be delivered in 2016 will strain terminal resources, as the average size of ships increase the amount of cargo that has to be handled at times of peak container activity.