"Designed for lower speeds"

February 24, 2011

You may remember reading about the fleet of B Class container ships which ended up mothballed because they were… too fast.

Commissioned during the boom in container shipping, partly sustained by China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, the B Class fleet was launched just before the recent global crisis and in a context of high oil prices.

As Ellen MacArthur pondered at the time,

One might ask why the owner of the B Class ships does not simply consider operating them at low speed, in order to keep costs acceptable? Surely this would be preferable to taking those high-tech vessels, which are not 5 years old, off the maritime routes? Common sense would think so – but there is a little problem: those boats have been designed for high speed sailing, and are simply not at all efficient with the throttle rolled back!

Now, how about this then? Maersk’s latest effort seems to draw directly from that painful experience, and the message could not be any clearer…

© Maersk
© Maersk

Due to be launched in 2013, the Triple E container ship benefits from a very informative and graphically impressive website, but what particularly caught our attention, even more so than the considerable CO2 reduction objectives, was the “designed for disassembly” slide… mentioning a “cradle to cradle passport” – “which will list and describe the materials used to build the vessel, where they are located and how they can be correctly disassembled and recycled / disposed.”


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