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The largest container ships in the world

Bigger, longer, wider: the world's largest container ships cross borders. The latest cargo ships can now hold over 23,000 containers. In our ranking you will find the 12 largest container ships in the world.

In our ranking we list the 12 largest container ships in the world.

Photo: panthermedia.net/ilfede

Longer than some skyscrapers are tall and about as wide as a soccer field. The biggestContainer ships in the world transport goods from continent to continent and form the lifeline of the global economy. In terms of length, these colossi of the sea are all located at around 400 meters - due to the limited dimensions of the harbor basins and container bridges. In terms of cargo capacity (measured in TEU, Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit, in German 20-foot container equivalent), however, the ships can be clearly distinguished. These are the 12 largest container ships on our oceans.

Ranking: The 12 largest container ships in the world

placeSurnameclassflaglengthLoading capacity
1HMM AlgecirasMegamax classPanama400 m23,964 TEU
2MSC GülsünMSC Megamax-24Panama400 m23,756 TEU
3OOCL Hong KongG-classHong Kong400 m21,413 TEU
4COSCO Shipping UniverseCOSCO 20000 TEU typeHong Kong399.90 m21,237 TEU
5CMA CGM Antoine de Saint-ExuperyCMA CGM 20,600 TEU typeFrance400 m20,954 TEU
6Madrid MærskTriple E classDenmark399 m20,568 TEU
7Ever goldenEvergreen 20,000 TEU typePanama400 m20,388 TEU
8MOL triumph20,000 TEU typePanama, Marshall Islands400 m20,100 to 20,190 TEU
9MSC JadeMSC Pegasus classLiberia398.45 m19,437 TEU
10MSC MayaOlympic seriesPanama395.40 m19,224 TEU
11CSCL GlobeCSCL globe typeHong Kong399.67 m19,100 TEU
12UASC BarzanA-19 classMalta400 m18,800 TEU


12. "UASC Barzan" (A-19 class)

The UASC (United Arab Shipping Company) Barzan is one of six container ships in the UASC A19 class. With a length of 400 meters and a width of 58.6 meters, it is able to transport 18,800 TEU. The maximum load weight is 199,744 tons. The keel was laid (start of construction) at the end of 2014, the Barzan was completed in mid-2015. The UASC's new class of ships is one of the pioneers in terms of environmental performance. The MAN B&W ten-cylinder two-stroke diesel engine manufactured under license by Hyundai can even be operated with liquid gas. This accelerates the ship to up to 22 knots (41 km / h). The UASC Barzan is on the liner service between East Asia and Europe under the Maltese flag. The Arabic name “Barzan” designates a high-altitude place - based on the bridge, which is 60 meters above the water.

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11. "CSCL Globe" (CSCL Globe type)

The CSCL Globe of the shipping company China Shipping Container Lines is able to load up to 19,100 TEU and has a deadweight of 184,320 tons. The 399.67 meter long and 58.6 meter wide colossus reaches speeds of up to 25.1 knots (46 km / h). A MAN B&W two-stroke diesel engine with an output of 56,800 kilowatts provides propulsion. Between 2014 and 2015, five ships of the CSCL Globe type were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, which have been used for liner shipping between Europe and East Asia since they were launched - under the Hong Kong flag. In the year of its completion, the Globe was the largest container ship in the world. We report here how the world's largest container ship entered the port of Hamburg at the time.

10. "MSC Maya" (Olympic series)

With a length of 395.49 meters, the MSC Maya is the fourth unit of twelve ships in the Olympic series. She was chartered by the Swiss shipping company MSC and has a container capacity of 19,224 TEU with a total carrying capacity of 199,272 tons. The MSC Maya commutes between Northern Europe and Asia under the Panamanian flag, docking again in the port of Hamburg about every 84 days. A MAN B&W engine with an output of 62,480 kilowatts enables a maximum speed of 22.8 knots (42 km / h). However, the colossus travels at an average of 14.7 knots (27 km / h). The Maya can use two thrusters for maneuvers in the harbor basin. Fewer assistance tugs are therefore required when mooring and unloading.

9. "MSC Jade" (MSC Pegasus class)

The MSC Jade is one of six Pegasus-class container ships and was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering within two years. With a length of 398.45 meters and a width of 59.07 meters, with a loading capacity of 19,439 TEU at the time of her completion in 2016, she overshadowed all other ships. The maximum load capacity is 200,148 tons. A 75,570 kW two-stroke diesel engine from MAN Diesel & Turbo provides the necessary power and drives the fixed propeller. This enables the container ship to reach speeds of up to 25.3 knots (46.9 km / h). For the Swiss shipping company MSC, but sailing under the Liberian flag, the MSC Jade transports goods between Europe and Asia as one of the largest container ships in the world.

8. "MOL Triumph" (20,000 TEU type)

With a cargo capacity of 20,190 TEU, a length of 400 and a width of 58.8 meters, the MOL Triumph occupies seventh place in the ranking of the largest container ships in the world. It belongs to the 20,000 TEU type of the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines from Japan. The identical container ships "Trust", "Tribute", "Truth", "Tradition" and "Treasure" are also in this class. Some of the ocean liners fly the flag of Panama or the Marshall Islands. The MOL Triumph was built in the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea and launched in 2017 after a construction period of two years. The once largest container ship in the world is still one of the most important means of transport for goods traffic between Europe and the Far East. The Triumph is powered by a MAN B&W diesel engine (convertible to LPG operation) with an output of 82,440 kW. This means she can reach a top speed of 24 knots (44.45 km / h). In addition, the drive can use the waste heat from the engine for energy recovery. The maximum load capacity of the ship is 192,672 tons.

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7. "Ever Golden" (Evergreen 20,000 TEU type)

The Ever Golden is one of eleven 399.98 meters long and 58.8 meters wide container ships of the Evergreen 20,000 TEU type. These have been gradually put into service since 2018.

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Under the flag of Panama, the container ships of the Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen Marine connect the China-Shanghai-Colombo areas via the Suez Canal with the Mediterranean Sea and northern Europe. The Ever Golden is able to load up to 20,388 TEU with a maximum loading capacity of 218,000 tons. The giant made of steel is propelled with an output of 59,250 kW, whereby a speed of up to 21 knots (38.9 km / h) can be achieved.

The container ship Eugen Maersk at the Eurogate container terminal in the port of Hamburg.

Photo: Christian Charisius / dpa

The container ship CMA CGM Alexander von Humboldt in the Elbe in the port of Hamburg.

Photo: Christian Charisius / dpa

The Pioneering Spirit is the largest work ship in the world.

Photo: allseas.com

The container ship "MSC Oscar" in front of the pier of the container terminal in Bremerhaven (Bremen).

Photo: Ingo Wagner / dpa

The MSC Zoe only visited Hamburg in August.

Photo: Markus Scholz / dpa

Mærsk Triple E class ships are 399 meters long.

Photo: Mærsk.com

The container ship "CSCL Globe" of the shipping company China Shipping Group in the port of Hamburg.

Photo: Daniel Bockwoldt / dpa

The UASC Barzan.

Photo: uasc.net

6. "Madrid Mærsk" (Triple E class)

The Madrid Mærsk was launched in 2017 and is one of eleven Triple-E ships of the second generation, replacing older and smaller transport ships. It has a capacity of 20,568 TEU and a length of 399 meters. The maximum load weight is 206,000 tons. The Danish shipping company Mærsk Line uses these floating giants, which are also sailing under the Danish flag, on the South Asia-Europe route. The Madrid Mærsk is powered by two MAN 7-cylinder marine engines, which together have an output of 52,640 kW and each act on two propellers via a gearbox. This enables it to reach a top speed of 21 knots (38.9 km / h).

One of the largest container ships in the world comes from France

5. "CMA CGM Antoine de Saint-Exupery" (CMA CGM 20,600 TEU type)

400 meters long, 59 meters wide - the Antoine de Saint-Exupery of the French shipping company CMA CGM is a giant that can hold 20,766 TEU (of which 1,600 are refrigerated containers) with a total load capacity of 202,684 tons. The fleet also includes two identical sister ships: the Jean Mermoz and the Louis Bleriot. All three were launched in 2018 and have been operating under the French flag in the European-Asian region since then. In Europe, for example, the cities of Hamburg, Rotterdam, Southampton or Le Havre are served. The CMA CGM Antoine de Saint-Exupery is powered by the latest generation of marine diesel with an output of 67,430 kW. The “Becker Twisted Fin” system reduces energy consumption and increases propeller performance. This results in CO2 savings and reduced oil consumption. In this ship, even the ballast water is cleaned, filtered and reprocessed and then returned to the sea.

4. "COSCO Shipping Universe" (COSCO 20000 TEU type)

The COSCO Shipping Universe is the largest ship in the COSCO fleet and is based on the COSCO 20000 TEU type. With a total load capacity of 199,000 tons, a length of 399.9 meters and a width of 58 meters, the Universe offers space for 21,237 TEU. Since its completion in 2018, the Universe has been flying the Hong Kong flag on trade routes between Asia and Europe. With a MAN B&W diesel engine, which is supported by three turbochargers from the manufacturer ABB and which reduces both fuel and emissions, the container ship can reach up to 21.9 knots (40.6 km / h). Thanks to the intelligent drive train, the Universe also meets high environmental standards.

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3. "OOCL Hong Kong" (G-Class)

In third place in the ranking is the OOCL Hong Kong, or rather the G-Class of the globally operating shipping company Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL). The gigantic container ship shares the space with six other identical OOCL models - with the “Germany”, “Japan”, “United Kingdom”, “Scandinavia” and “Indonesia”. They are all 400 meters long and 58.8 meters wide. With a cargo capacity of 21,413 TEU, the maximum load capacity of the giants is 191,422 tons. The fleet crosses the oceans under the flag of Hong Kong. After a construction period of three years, the OOCL Hong Kong was launched from the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in 2018. The freighter relies on a two-stroke diesel engine that drives a fixed propeller. The 11-cylinder from MAN B&W delivers 62,382 kW at 79 revolutions per minute. This performance enables the container ship to commute at up to 21 knots (27 km / h) between East Asia and Europe every 77 days.

2. "MSC Gülsün" (MSC Megamax-24)

400 meters long and 61.5 meters wide, these are the dimensions of the second largest container ship in the world, the MSC Gülsün. The flagship was completed in mid-2019 after almost three years of construction in a South Korean shipyard and handed over to the client Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), one of the largest shipping companies in the world with around 520 ships. With a loading capacity of an impressive 23,756 TEU, the giant was the largest of its kind at the time of its maiden voyage. The Gülsün is currently sailing back and forth between Europe and Asia in regular service. When fully loaded, it reaches a depth of up to 17 meters. A two-stroke diesel engine of the type MAN B&W 11G95ME-C9.5 ensures that the giant moves.

1. "HMM Algeciras" (Megamax class)

Completed in May 2020 after two years of construction, the HMM Algeciras displaced the MSC Gülsün from number 1 of the largest container ships in the world after just a few months. The freighter was commissioned by the South Korean shipping company Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) from Daewoo Shipbuiliding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and is the first container ship in a series of 12 further ships in the Megamax class. Also sailing under the Panamanian flag, the colossus started its maiden voyage in the port of Yantian, a district of the city of Shenzhen in China. There are several contact points in Europe on the route, including Hamburg in Germany. The superlative ship is 400 meters long and 61 meters wide. With a gigantic loading capacity of 23,964 TEU, the ship, when fully loaded, has a draft of up to 16 meters. A MAN B&W 11G95ME-C two-stroke diesel engine with an engine output of 60,380 kW (around 82,100 hp), which sets the fixed pitch propeller in motion, provides the necessary drive.

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A contribution by:

  • Silvia chicken

    Silvia Hühn is a freelance editor with a technical focus. Among other things, she writes about the records in the world.