China takes container shipping to whole new dimensions

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The world's largest container ship, Xin Los Angeles, has been delivered by Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) to Lloyd's Register class.

The 336.7m ship is owned by China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) and is operated by China International Ship Management Company, a joint venture between CSCL and UK-based V.Ships.

It is 9,600 teu (20ft equivalent, a unit of measurement equal to the space occupied by a standard 20ft container) and is the first in a series of eight being built by SHI. The ship will trade initially from China to Europe and eventually the US.

Xin Los Angeles can carry a maximum of 18 rows of containers by eight tiers on the weather deck and 16 rows by 10 tiers in the holds. It is propelled by an MAN B&W 12K98MC-C Mk6 engine, with a power of 68,520kW, which is said to have achieved a ballast service speed of 25.4 knots.

The container has been assigned Lloyd's Register's environmental protection notation, which recognises vessels that exceed statutory environmental requirements. It has a certified ballast water management system and has procedures and systems in place for dealing with refrigerants, rubbish and sewage and will also run on low-sulphur fuel.

'We believe that we are at the leading edge of container ship design, having already developed a 12,000 teu container in co-operation with Lloyd's Register. We will continue to focus on R&D in this area, and we hope to unveil a design for a 14,000 teu ship,' said Kim Jing Wan, chief executive of SHI.

'We have an ambitious strategy for building the container ship fleet of the future. We are pushing the size envelope because we believe that future market demand, coupled with the increasing importance of Chinese trade to the world economy, requires an innovative, forward-thinking response to ship design and construction,' added Xin Yan Lin, site manager for the China Shipping Group.