Larger and larger new container ships get the headlines, but a lot of the container carrying work is done by smaller sized vessels, some getting on in years. Adding to the longevity and value of these older ships is the current torrid demand for container capacity brought on by the economic recovery post COVID in many parts of the world. Ship owners are getting astronomical rates to charter their ships, and many lines are unable to meet the demand for cargo space.
It was not so long ago that container ships with a capacity of 5,000 TEU were deemed inefficient and undesirable, and would soon be heading for the scrappers in droves. Things have certainly changed and it is rare to hear of any container ship, of any size, which is not fully occupied.
There were two container veterans in Halifax today - both very much gainfully employed on busy routes.
MOL Glide, built in 2011 by Hyundai, Samho is a 59,307 gt, 71,339 dwt ship with a 5,000 TEU capacity.
The ship is on THE Alliance's AL1 service, a transatlantic run from Europe to the North American east coast. The ship arrived last night and sailed this afternoon for Rotterdam. It is expected back in Halifax June 26.
The Mediterranean Shipping Co, MSC has always been known for squeezing the last useful years out of ships, and it's arrival for today is no exception.
MSC Aniello was built in 2000 by Hyundai, Busan and is rated at 40,631 gt, 56,903 dwt, with a capacity of 4,056 TEU, including 150 reefers. Chosen for MSC's St.Lawrence routes, because of its size, it must still load light to meet draft restrictions. However it can achieve better efficiency by loading deeper in Europe and by stopping in Halifax inbound (in this case) to decant some of its cargo and transferring it to rail or truck. Outbound from Montreal it tops off in Halifax with some added cargo loaded to salt / deep water draft. Depending on timing I think they could offer this as an "express" service also.
In the current economic environment both ships are likely to be valued very highly, and it will be some years before we gain hear that they may "inefficient".