The world’s biggest ship – for 53 days

By Justin Parkinson BBC News Magazine

The worlds biggest ship

The world’s largest container ship, the Globe, is docking in Britain for the first time as it continues its maiden voyage. But how vast and powerful is it and how long until it’s superseded?


The Globe is more than 400m (1,312ft) long, the equivalent of eight Olympic-size swimming pools. It is 56.8m (186ft) wide and 73m (240ft) high, its gross tonnage is 186,000 – the equivalent of 14,500 London buses, according to the Port of Felixstowe, where it arrived on Wednesday

But the record-breaking aspect of the Globe, owned by Shanghai-based China Shipping Container Lines and built in South Korea, is its capacity. It can carry 19,100 standard 20ft containers. That’s estimated to be enough space for 156 million pairs of shoes, 300 million tablet computers or 900 million standard tins of baked beans.

Laid end-to-end, the maximum number of containers on board would stretch for 72 miles, the distance between Felixstowe and London, or Birmingham and Manchester.

“You would feel dwarfed by the Globe,” says Damian Brett, container expert at Lloyd’s List shipping publication. “It’s like an office block lying on its side. It’s a huge beast.”


The Globe’s maiden voyage began in the Chinese city of Qingdao on 3 December and is due to end in Ningbo, China, on 25 February. Felixstowe is its first European stop. It will also call at Rotterdam, Hamburg and Zeebrugge.

The Globe is the first of a series of five such ships of the same size to be built by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries. All are expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

Its capacity means it takes over from the Triple-E, which can take 18,270 standard containers, as the world’s most capacious cargo ship. The first Triple-E, operated by Danish company Maersk, was delivered in June 2013.

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