World’s largest container ship docks in bremerhaven

The currently world-grown container ship has moored in bremerhaven for the first time on its maiden voyage from asia. Bremen’s new port senator claudia schilling (SPD) was pleased with the arrival.

"We can handle the roughest ships here," she said on monday. Onlookers were able to watch the 400-meter-long and 61.5-meter-wide giant approach from the beach of the aubenweser river. Then tugs turned the fully stacked ship before it slid against the quay wall in a northern german rainstorm.

According to the swiss shipping company mediterranean shipping company (MSC), the MSC gulsun can carry 23,756 standard containers (TEU), including 2,000 refrigerated containers. So far, the coarse container ships have held around 23.000 TEU.

The "MSC gulsun" was built in sud korea and delivered in july. It is evidence of the trend toward ever rougher container ships, which also cause problems for the port. Because the lengths are currently limited to 400 meters, the "MSC gulsun" has gone wide. There are not 23, but 24 containers standing side by side on it.

Even bremerhaven is only partially prepared for it. Of the many container gantry cranes on the quay, only two have so far extended far enough to reach the uppermost row of boxes, said the head of the terminal operator eurogate, michael blach. By the end of 2020, further rough bridges had been purchased. "Overall, it is clear that we need to invest further in bremerhaven," said blach. The quay walls also had to be strengthened to support the growing loads, said robert howe, managing director of the port company bremenports.

Some european ports, such as hamburg, are taking a stand against ever-larger containerships because they have had to invest heavily in new quay facilities and deeper and wider channels. Associations call for eu requirements that in future no ship may call at european ports that is coarser than the fleet that has been sailing so far.

As the ships grow, so do the risks. Another of the shipping company’s freighters, the MSC zoe, lost about 350 containers in a storm in the north sea off the dutch wadden sea islands and borkum at the beginning of the year. It was only a fraction of the cargo, but the coasts of the region and the seabed were covered with mull. A large part of the lost cargo was recovered by may.

About 3500 containers should be unloaded from the "MSC gulsun" by tuesday, said bremerhaven MSC representative friedrich stuhrmann. The maiden voyage should then go on to gdansk in poland and kaliningrad in russia. MSC is one of the world’s largest shipping companies, with 520 ships and 70,000 employees in 155 countries.

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