The recent holiday season saw a major development
in worldwide cargo shipping when the newly launched CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, an 18,000 TEU-class vessel, arrived in Los Angeles on her maiden voyage
– and became the largest container ship ever to dock
at a North American port.
The ULCS (Ultra-Large Container Ship) is 1310 feet
in length and 177 feet wide (cma-cgm.com), making
her 60 feet longer than the height of the Empire State Building and 17 feet wider than a US football field. When the vessel docked at APM Terminals Pier 400 in Los Angeles, 11,200 containers were handled during
56 hours of port operations; with 2845 inbound rail containers discharged into 12 doublestack trains (apmterminals.com).
The Benjamin Franklin is part of a global trend in every area of shipping towards the very largest vessels
- container ships, bulk carriers and gas carriers
(joc.com). Such vessels create their own demands
in cargo securing and handling.
For example, there is uncertainty about how this generation of ships will behave during a voyage, with the sea having a different affect on very large vessels compared with smaller ones (wsj.com). “Springing”
(a vibration of the hull caused by waves, which becomes more significant with longer ships) and “whipping” (waves plucking at the hull) are both potential issues
and a factor regarding cargo securing. The g-forces operating on a container high up on one of these vessels are considerable. And more cargo on mega ships raises insurance issues.
Ports wishing to service these vessels have to make substantial investments, including in freight handling equipment. Bigger ships mean less frequency and more volume, which creates stresses in the supply chain. Onward forwarding and distribution of cargo present major challenges, as the example of the Benjamin Franklin shows.
But such developments also deliver great opportunities. With 50 years experience of providing innovative, time and cost-effective cargo-securing solutions to export packers, lashing companies, stevedores and shipping lines in ports, Cordstrap are the trusted worldwide partner for these businesses; with a range
of shipping solutions that provide total, engineered protection whatever the scale of the challenge
- and the assurance of full CTU code compliance and world-class training programmes.