On September 8, 2021, the Megamax container ship Ever Ace called at the Port of Hamburg for the first time.
With a slot capacity of 23,992 TEUs, the Ever Ace is currently the largest container ship in the world. With a length of 400 metres, a width of 61.5m and a maximum draught of 16m, the mega-carrier can accommodate 28 TEU more than the previous biggest ship record holder, HMM Algeciras.
Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen Marine commissioned the vessel to be built at the South Korean shipyard Samsung Heavy Industries for around US$150 million. Ever Ace left the shipyard on 28 July bound for Qingdao. Another five ships of this type are to be built at the shipyard.
The port of Hamburg has recently deepened the channel (fairway) in the Elbe River for the world’s biggest ships, and also added a passing lane so the Megamax vessels can transit the waterway at the same time. Ships with a combined width of up to 98 metres can safely pass each other in the widened stretch of the Elbe immediately below the Hamburg state border known as the ‘passing box’. Previously, the maximum combined width had been 90 metres.
“It is clear from the arrival of the world’s largest container ship, Ever Ace, that the Port of Hamburg has done its homework. Especially with the fairway adjustment and the widening of the passing box, the largest container ships can call at the Port of Hamburg. In this way, the Port of Hamburg remains an attractive hub in Europe”, said Axel Mattern, executive director of Port of Hamburg Marketing.
The ship arrived with the high tide. Approval of the new draughts is taking place in two stages. During the first stage, which is currently in force, container ships can use only 50 percent of the draught improvements gained from the fairway adjustment.
Depending on the size class, the draughts will increase by 0.3 metres to 0.9 metres. Final clearance is expected by the end of the year.
Ever Ace is in service between Northern Europe and Asia. The container ship operates on the Ocean-Alliance’s NEU6 route. At Evergreen, the route is known as the China-Europe-Mediterranean Service (CEM). The rotation includes calls at Hamburg, Felixstowe, Rotterdam, Colombo, Tanjung Pelepas, Kaohsiung, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Taipei, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, Rotterdam, Felixstowe and Hamburg.
The Ever Ace set a record on its maiden voyage for the number of 20-foot standard containers (TEU) transported from Asia to Europe. According to information from the industry service Alphaliner, the vessel transported a total of 21,718 TEU. The Ever Ace surpassed the old mark of the CMA CGM Jacques Saadé by 285 containers.