Specifications for Very Large Post-Panamax Containerships

Year“Triple E Class”“E Class” (Emma Maersk)“S Class” (Sovereign Maersk)
Capacity (TEU)18,00014,5008,400
Length (meters)400393348
Width (meters)595643
Draft (meters)15.515.514
Deadweight (tons)165,000156,900105,000
Speed (knots)23 (19 optimal)25.525

The threshold for containerized maritime shipping has restricted the capacity of three of the world’s major bottlenecks: the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, and the strait of Malacca. The Emma Maersk class, introduced in 2006, is essentially a Suez-max ship. Ship designs for a “Triple E Class” (the ‘E’s standing for economies of scale, energy efficiency, and environmental improvement) were introduced in 2013 and will likely mark to largest commercially feasible ship class for containers. However, their size would imply that only a few ports could handle them, which questions the practical limits of economies of scale. The ultimate containership class would be the “Malacca Max” with a draft of 21 meters. However, such a ship class would carry about 30,000 TEU and would be of such a dimension that no gantry crane equipment is currently designed to handle. Additionally, few port facilities would be able to accommodate such ships.