This issue of Shipping Today and Yesterday is my one hundredth edition as editor.
I thought it might be interesting to look back and see how the shipping world has changed over the past eight and a half years since I took over.
The first thing that springs to mind is the increase in the size of almost every class of vessel. I discussed container ships in my last editorial, but to recap briefly, in 2007 there were very few container ships of over 100,000gt. CMA CGM had their four ‘opera. class ships, Fidelio, Medea, Norma and Rigoletto. MSC had the Esthi, Ines, Joanna, Madeleine, Marie Elena and Susanna, plus the chartered Bruxelles, Chicago and Roma. COSCO boasted the chartered Beijing, Guangzhou, Hellas, Ningbo and Yantian, and China Shipping Container Line had the chartered Le Havre and Pusan. Maersk had just taken delivery of the first two of their ‘E’ class, Emma and Estelle. Other major lines such as Hapag Lloyd, Hyundai, MOL and NYK, had no container ships over 100,000gt at all.
Now the largest container ships are in the 190,000gt range. Of the top container lines Maersk now operate 31 ships over 100,000gt, CMA CGM have 36, COSCO have 27, CSCL 25 and MSC operate a staggering 72!
The size of cruise ships has also increased. In 2007 the Queen Mary 2 was the largest cruise ship at 148,528gt. She carried 2,620 passengers. Now, the largest cruise ships are the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas at 225,282gt carrying 6,296 passengers. In 2007 there were 28 cruise ships over 100,000gt, now there are 61.
The increase in the size of ships is not just confined to these two types of vessels. The size of ferries has also increased. The established routes from Harwich to the Hook of Holland has seen new ships employed. The new vessels are 64,000gt compared with the previous ships which were only 43,000gt.
The popular Dover to Calais route is now served by two new P&O ferries, each of nearly 48,000gt, whereas in 2007 the largest ships on that route were just over 30,000gt.
Ship sizes apart, there have been quite a few notable happenings during the past eight and a half years.
Perhaps the most newsworthy were the tragic sinkings of the Costa Concordia and the Korean ferry Sewol. The recent tragedies in the Mediterranean with huge loss of life amongst asylum seekers is a sober reminder of the power of the sea.
Anyway, thank you all for your support during the past hundred editions. I have no intention of putting my pen away yet, so here’s to the next hundred!