Container Shipping Just Got Bigger – Will Larger Capacity Vessels Affect Car Transport Costs?

(2 February, 2022)


A new generation of increased capacity, greener container ships is ready to sail. What does this mean for containerised car transportation costs in 2022?

The Containerised Car Transport GuideThe particulars of global trade are affected by a variety of factors, from macro-economic trends to demographic changes. Global population growth and a generalised improvement in purchasing capacity have bolstered international trade and commerce since the 1970s, and these trends have accelerated in the past two decades, despite the setbacks of the pandemic.

Onwards And Upwards

More consumer demand puts higher pressure on logistics and transportation companies to get goods, including cars, across seas and borders quickly and safely. To cope with these requirements, container ship capacity has been increasing steadily. The average container ship size has more than doubled over the past 20 years, and until very recently, most container vessels had a capacity ranging between 10,000 and 21,000 TEU.

It was only last year that 24,000 TEUs were considered a hard-to-beat capacity threshold for a container ship. Ships in this category stayed shy of the 24k mark by a few hundred feet, until CSSC-owned Ever Alot made headlines earlier this month.

At 24,004 TEU, Ever Alot fits into the vessel category known as a Megamax container ship. When it’s delivered in May 2022, it will be the first vessel to break the 24,000 TEU barrier and will be the world’s largest container ship in terms of carrying capacity. Although Ever Alot has the same dimensions of other ultra large ships, it features some design improvements that have increased its overall capacity.

Bigger AND Greener

Another thing to note is that this Megamax ship is compliant with global NOx Tier III emissions standards, which revolve around achieving improved energy savings without compromising efficiency. This is part of an ongoing effort by shipping companies to modernise and improve their container fleets, so we can expect more ‘green’ Megamax ships to make their appearance in the near future.

Lower Costs?

So what does this mean for the container shipping industry- and in particular for the car transport sector? This is a pertinent question given that up to 7% of a vehicle’s price is linked to the costs of logistics and transportation.

Of course, at this point we can only speculate, but we can make some predictions about the impact of this development.

First of all, higher capacity ships may serve to reduce journey times. Time is an important factor given that RoRo transport is the predominant way of getting cars from origin to destination due to its faster speeds. Some manufacturers are limited to this option because of delivery timescales, even though containerised shipping offers better safety standards. So, the arrival of vessels like Ever Alot may place a wider range of choices into the hands of manufacturers.

Secondly, if ships have a larger carrying capacity, stowage costs per container, and transport costs per unit may be lower, especially for large car consignments, since vessels will be at sea for fewer days. Overall, we can expect that higher capacity cargo ships will make container shipping an even more attractive prospect for auto logistics companies in 2022 and beyond.

Next Steps

Our racking products help automotive transport companies maximise the value of containerised shipping by increasing the carrying capacity of individual shipping containers and improving the security of stowed cars. To find out more, please download our free Containerised Car Transport Guide, or call us today to discuss your transport requirements. 

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The Containerised Car Transport Guide

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