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Rotterdam "ready for 30,000 TEU container ships"

The Port of Rotterdam welcomes the idea of shipowners planning to dwarf the 23,800 TEU intake of the new record holder, MSC GÜLSÜN


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The giant ship has been calling north European ports as part of her maiden voyage for the 2M Alliance - MSC’s Silk service/Maersk’s AE10 service. The 400m by 62m behemoth is the world’s first ever ship to stow containers 24 rows wide. It has taken pole position from the two year old 21,413 TEU OOCL HONG KONG. The 232,618gt and 197,500dwt MSC GÜLSÜN had the Dutch port as its last call in Europe, after Algeciras, Bremerhaven, Gdansk and Bremerhaven again. After leaving Rotterdam, Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia will be its next call.

MSC GÜLSÜN making her maiden call in Rotterdam. (Photo: HbR)
MSC GÜLSÜN making her maiden call in Rotterdam. (Photo: HbR)

Rotterdam’s stance is the polar opposite of the one taken by Gunther Bonz of Eurogate CTH Hamburg, the President of the Hamburg Port Employers’ Associtation (UVHH) and of FEPORT. Warning that he has seen designs for a 30,000 TEU ship, he called on the EU to link block exemptions to limits on ship sizes. Enough is enough, said Bonz.


But Rotterdam is having none of it, as it made clear on the occasion of MSC GÜLSÜN’s first call in the port, at APM Terminals Maasvlakte II on Tuesday, 3rd September.


Many years ago Dutch academics with close ties to the port made the point that malaccamax containerships would be of great benefit to Rotterdam and Singapore, as the only ports that could handle them!! Plus ça change.

Giant containerships explained for the man-in-the-street. (ibid)
Giant containerships explained for the man-in-the-street. (ibid)

Today, the port authority (HbR) is convinced that it could accommodate 30,000 TEU ships with no adjustments of any kind required to channel depth and width, water depth alongside the quays and quay wall structures.


"Our competitors cannot match our 20m draught by a long shot, so it would enhance our competitiveness," stated HbR, as MSC GÜLSÜN made her maiden call in the port.

The Port of Rotterdam apparently buys into the carriers' rationale for bigger ships. (ibid)
The Port of Rotterdam apparently buys into the carriers' rationale for bigger ships. (ibid)

"So yes, the ongoing economy of scale is good for us," said Hans Nagtegaal, HbR’s Manager, Containers. "Apart from the two novel container terminals at Maasvlakte II, APMT 2 and RWG, the Maasvlakte I terminals ECT Delta Peninsula and ECT Euromax are equally able to accommodate these even larger ships. And everybody’s quaysides are strong enough to accommodate even larger ship-to-shore cranes," he noted, irrespective of how many rows across 30,000 TEU ships might stow.

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