Ever since the emergence of containerized cargo began in the 1950s, the shipping sector rose to be the most important link in the international trade industry. Malcolm McLean, an American ship-owner, revolutionized the international transport of cargo in 1956 by modernizing what we currently call the intermodal shipping container. 

Today, about 90% of all worldwide trade is conducted by merchant ships, carrying commodities, and goods across every corner of the planet.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) claims that about 50,000 trading ships sail the world seas and oceans at the moment, but not all of those carry containerized cargo. Of all the trading vessels, about 5,500 are specialized to transport shipping containers.

That’s still an impressive number, considering the largest container ships can be loaded with about 24,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

In this article, we’ll list the top 10 largest container ships in the world in 2022 and help you get insight into the key details about each one. We’ll also include honorable mentions for another 5 container ships that we believe deserve a place on this list.

History of the Container Ship

Before container ships were commercially released and used on a big scale, there were some instances in history where ships were used to transport containerized cargo. The first examples of ships that used to carry standardized cargo units date from the 18th century, England.

In 1931, a ship called Autocarrier in ownership of the Southern Railway UK, was designed to carry containers and had 21 slots for that purpose.

But the truly first commercial container ship as we know them today was the Ideal X. It was launched in 1953 when it left the Port of Newark which is a major part of the Port of New York/New Jersey.

The containerization of the international trade industry didn’t go without any obstacles though. Traditional transport companies that used trains, trucks, and ships that carried bulk and break-bulk cargo, were concerned about the high costs of innovating and developing the ports and the loss of jobs that the containerization would eventually bring with its automated innovations.

Eventually, progress was inevitable, and container ships slowly started to dominate freight transport. They revolutionized this sector by cutting the loading and unloading times from days, which used to be the prior practice, to mere hours by using cranes that place or remove containers from a vessel.

Design of the Modern Container Ship

The architecture of today’s container ships largely resembles the one of general cargo ships and bulk carriers. Their entire structure revolves around a strong keel which is situated along the entire length of the bottom of the vessel.

From this element rises the hull of the ship, which constitutes everything from steel plates and frames, support beams, hatch covers, and other elements that form holds situated below the deck. These holds encase additional cargo departments where containers are stored but also make room for the engine, tanks for water and fuel, fire pumps, sewage system, air-conditioning system, etc.

The deck of the modern container ships often features steel structures for securing the above-deck containers and can have several cranes installed for loading and unloading the cargo containers onto and from the ship. 

There are seven categories of container ships that range from small-size called feeders with a capacity of up to 3,000 TEUs to ultra large with a capacity of 14,501 TEUs and higher.

Another important factor in categorizing modern container ships is their ability to navigate through important world trade routes such as the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal.

CONTAINER SHIP CATEGORY CAPACITY IN TEUS OVERALL LENGTH BEAM WIDTH DRAUGHT SHIP EXAMPLES
ULCV (Ultra Large Container Vessel) From 14,501 TEUs and higher From 366 meters and longer (1,200 feet) From 49 meters and wider (160.7 feet) From 15.2 meters and deeper (49.9 feet) Today’s largest ships all fall within this category. Our list features ships like the Ever Ace, Madrid Maersk, and HMM Algeciras who are all wider than 49 meters. Ships in this category can navigate the Suez Canal.
New Panamax (Neopanamax) From 10,000 TEUs to 14,500 TEUs From 295 meters to 366 meters (from 965 feet to 1,200 feet) From 32.31 meters to 49 meters (from 106 feet to 160.7 feet) From 12.05 meters to 15.2 meters (from 39.5 feet to 49.9 feet) Designed to fit through the old and new Panama Canal’s locks, ships in this category are named according to the canal’s name. Newer generations of Panamax class ships such as the COSCO Guangzhou class ships are suitable in this category.
Post-Panamax From 5,101 TEUs to 10,000 TEUs From 295 meters to 366 meters (from 965 feet to 1,200 feet) From 32.31 meters to 49 meters (from 106 feet to 160.7 feet) From 12.05 meters to 15.2 meters (from 39.5 feet to 49.9 feet) Same as New Panamax.
Panamax From 3,001 TEUs to 5,100 TEUs Up to 294.13 meters (965 feet) Up to 32.31 meters (106 feet) Up to 12.04 meters (39.5 feet) In this category, ships can navigate even the old locks of the Panama Canal. Such ships are of the Bay class which have a beam width of 32.2 meters. An example is the MV Providence Bay container vessel.
Feedermax From 2,001 TEUs to 3,000 TEUs This category contains the smallest container ships often referred to as feeder ships. They can carry up to 3,000 TEUs and the MV TransAtlantic fully cellular container ship is an example.
Feeder From 1,001 TEUs to 2,000 TEUs Same as Feedermax.
Small feeder Up to 1,000 TEUs Same as Feedermax.

Top Container Ship Operators

There are many shipping companies out there, but not all operate their own fleet of container ships. And from those that do, only a handful can be given the title of conglomerate with fleets counting dozens and hundreds of container ships.

The top spot was overtaken from the Danish APM Maersk in February, 2020 by the Swiss/Italian Mediterranean Shipping Company which, currently, owns 17% of the world share of TEUs. However, Maersk is still the leading transportation corporation when it comes to the number of container ships they own.

Maersk’s fleet consists of 738 container ships as of March 16, 2022 (they own 335 ships and charter over 400 other ships).

# SHIP OPERATOR COUNTRY OWNED TEUS CHARTERED TEUS TOTAL TEUS WORLD TEUS SHARE OWNED SHIPS CHARTERED SHIPS TOTAL FLEET SIZE
1 Mediterranean Shipping Company Switzerland / Italy 1,681,478 2,626,321 4,307,799 17.0% 315 341 656
2 A.P. Moller – Maersk Line Denmark 2,497,516 1,792,151 4,289,667 16.9% 335 403 738
3 CMA CGM Group France 1,431,732 1,841,200 3,272,932 12.9% 193 384 577
4 COSCO Group China 1,553,344 1,377,254 2,930,598 11.5% 175 301 476
5 Hapag-Lloyd AG Germany 1,060,292 681,434 1,741,726 6.9% 112 134 246
6 ONE (Ocean Network Express Holdings, Ltd.) Japan 711,491 816,895 1,528,386 6.0% 84 124 208
7 Evergreen Marine Corp. Taiwan 785,911 726,391 1,512,302 6.0% 122 80 262
8 HMM Co. Ltd. South Korea 551,484 266,844 818,328 3.2% 35 40 75
9 Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. Taiwan 211,684 453,918 665,602 2.6% 50 42 92
10 ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. Israel 15,770 420,476 436,246 1.7% 5 122 117
11 Wan Hai Lines Ltd. Taiwan 266,596 148,097 414,693 1.6% 92 55 147
12 PIL (Pacific Int. Line) Singapore 163,029 113,571 276,600 1.1% 61 24 85
13 KMTC (Korea Marine Transport Co., Ltd.) South Korea 86,464 70,531 156,995 0.6% 32 36 68
14 IRISL Group (Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line) Iran 105,518 43,524 149,042 0.6% 29 3 32
15 SITC International Holdings Co., Ltd. Hong Kong 122,102 26,622 148,724 0.6% 79 19 98

*data as of 16 March, 2022, source: ©Alphaliner TOP 100

The Top 10 Largest Container Ships

Before we overview the top 10 largest container ships in the world in 2022, you can check out the following chart where you can see these ships listed according to their maximum twenty-equivalent units’ capacity (TEUs). 

There’s also information on the sister ships of the same class as a listed ship, which company operates a given ship fleet, which country flag the ship bears, and their overall length, width, and gross tonnage capacity.

# YEAR OF LAUNCH SHIP NAME MAXIMUM TEUS COUNTRY FLAG SHIP OPERATOR BEAM WIDTH OVERALL LENGTH GROSS TONNAGE
1 2021 Ever Ace 23,992 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 235,579
1 2021 Ever Act 23,992 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 235,579
1 2021 Ever Aim 23,992 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 235,579
1 2021 Ever Alp 23,992 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 235,579
1 2022 Everm Arm 23,992 Taiwan Evergreen (Taiwan) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 235,579
2 2020 HMM Algeciras 23,964 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 228,283
2 2020 HMM Copenhagen 23,964 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 228,283
2 2020 HMM Dublin 23,964 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 228,283
2 2020 HMM Gdansk 23,964 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 228,283
2 2020 HMM Hamburg 23,964 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 228,283
2 2020 HMM Helsinki 23,964 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 228,283
2 2020 HMM Le Havre 23,964 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 228,283
3 2020  HMM Oslo 23,820 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,311
3 2020 HMM Rotterdam 23,820 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,311
3 2020 HMM Southampton 23,820 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,311
3 2020 HMM Stockholm 23,820 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,311
3 2020 HMM St Petersburg 23,820 Panama HMM (South Korea) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,311
4 2019 MSC Gülsün 23,756 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,618
4 2019 MSC Samar 23,756 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,618
4 2019 MSC Leni 23,756 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,618
4 2019 MSC Mia 23,756 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,618
4 2019 MSC Febe 23,756 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,618
4 2020 MSC Ambra 23,756 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.5 meters (202 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 232,618
5 2019  MSC Mina 23,656 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 228,741
5 2019 MSC Isabella 23,656 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 228,741
5 2019 MSC Arina 23,656 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 228,741
5 2019 MSC Nela 23,656 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 228,741
5 2019 MSC Sixin 23,656 Panama MSC (Switzerland) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 228,741
5 2021 MSC Apolline 23,656 Liberia MSC (Switzerland) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 228,786
5 2021 MSC Amelia 23,656 Liberia MSC (Switzerland) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 228,786
5 2021 MSC Diletta 23,656 Liberia MSC (Switzerland) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 228,786
5 2021 MSC Michelle 23,656 Liberia MSC (Switzerland) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 228,786
5 2021 MSC Allegra 23,656 Liberia MSC (Switzerland) 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 228,786
6 2020  CMA CGM Jacques Saadé 23,112 France CMA CGM (France) 61.3 meters (201 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 236,583
6 2020 CMA CGM Champs Elysées 23,112 France CMA CGM (France) 61.3 meters (201 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 236,583
6 2020 CMA CGM Palais Royal 23,112 France CMA CGM (France) 61.3 meters (201 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 236,583
6 2020 CMA CGM Louvre 23,112 France CMA CGM (France) 61.3 meters (201 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 236,583
6 2021 CMA CGM Rivoli 23,112 France CMA CGM (France) 61.3 meters (201 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 236,583
6 2021 CMA CGM Montmartre 23,112 France CMA CGM (France) 61.3 meters (201 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 236,583
6 2021 CMA CGM Concorde 23,112 France CMA CGM (France) 61.3 meters (201 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 236,583
6 2021 CMA CGM Trocadero 23,112 France CMA CGM (France) 61.3 meters (201 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 236,583
6 2021 CMA CGM Sorbonne 23,112 France CMA CGM (France) 61.3 meters (201 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 236,583
7 2017  OOCL Hong Kong 21,413 Hong Kong OOCL (Hong Kong) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 210,890
7 2017 OOCL Germany 21,413 Hong Kong OOCL (Hong Kong) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 210,890
7 2017 OOCL Japan 21,413 Hong Kong OOCL (Hong Kong) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 210,890
7 2017 OOCL United Kingdom 21,413 Hong Kong OOCL (Hong Kong) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 210,890
7 2017 OOCL Scandinavia 21,413 Hong Kong OOCL (Hong Kong) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 210,890
7 2018 OOCL Indonesia 21,413 Hong Kong OOCL (Hong Kong) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 210,890
8 2018  COSCO Shipping Universe 21,237 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 215,553
8 2018 COSCO Shipping Nebula 21,237 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 215,553
8 2019 COSCO Shipping Galaxy 21,237 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 215,553
8 2019 COSCO Shipping Solar 21,237 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 215,553
8 2019 COSCO Shipping Star 21,237 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 215,553
8 2019 COSCO Shipping Planet 21,237 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 215,553
9 2018  CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupéry 20,954 France CMA CGM (France) 59.0 meters (193.6 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,277
9 2018 CMA CGM Jean Mermoz 20,954 Malta CMA CGM (France) 59.0 meters (193.6 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,277
9 2018 CMA CGM Louis Blériot 20,954 Malta CMA CGM (France) 59.0 meters (193.6 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,277
10 2017  Madrid Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286
10 2017 Munich Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286
10 2017 Moscow Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286
10 2017 Milan Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286
10 2017 Monaco Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286
10 2018 Marseille Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286
10 2018 Manchester Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286
10 2018 Murcia Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286
10 2018 Manila Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286
10 2018 Mumbai Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286
10 2019 Maastricht Maersk 20,568 Denmark Maersk (Denmark) 58.6 meters (192 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 214,286

1. Ever Ace

As soon as the Ever Ace was launched in July 2021, it immediately became the largest container ship in the world. This enormous vessel is 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) long and 61.5 meters (202 feet) wide. Her draught reaches 17 meters (55 feet 9 inches) in depth which is almost two feet deeper than the draught of her infamous cousin, the Ever Given, which blocked the Suez Canal for 6 days in March 2021.

The Ever Ace was assembled in South Korea by Samsung Heavy Industries but is in the ownership of the taiwanese company Evergreen Marine and bears the flag of Panama. The ship commenced her maiden voyage on  July 29, 2001, when she sailed from the Chinese Port of Qingdao. From there, the ship headed to the port of Taipei in Taiwan and then to Yantian in China, before heading to visit Europe by finalizing her voyage in the Port of Rotterdam.

This ship is considered the largest container vessel because of its TEU capacity which is estimated at 23,992 TEUs. However, this vessel hasn’t been loaded to its maximum capacity as of today. Still, in August 2021, the Ever Ace was loaded with 21,710 TEUs which is the biggest single-ship TEU load ever recorded.

The Ever Ace is part of the Evergreen A-class container ships which will contain a total of 14 vessels. Four of these are already in service (Ever Ace, Ever Act, Ever Aim, and Ever Alp) and 10 more are in construction or planned (Ever Arm, Ever Art, Ever Apex, Ever Atop, Ever Alot, etc.).

2. HMM Algeciras

The second largest container ship in the world, HMM Algeciras was also built in South Korea, just like the Ever Ace. Her builder is Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

Following closely behind the Ever Ace, the HMM Algeciras is 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) wide, while its length is 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) – same as the Ever Ace. Her draught of 16.5 meters (54 feet 3 inches) is also a bit smaller than the Ever Ace.

Bearing the flag of Panama, HMM Algeciras is owned by the South Korean shipping conglomerate HMM. Her TEU capacity is just 28 TEUs shorter than that of the Ever Ace and stands at 23,964 TEUs. The gross tonnage stands at 228,283 gross tons. 

This ship is renowned for being an eco-friendly container carrier and one of the most advanced regarding the aspect of technology. Her highly efficient engine and new generation of hull design help reduce carbon emissions and boost her energy efficiency.

The HMM Algeciras-class of container ships is comprised of 12 sister ships among which are HMM Copenhagen, HMM Hamburg, HMM Le Havre, HMM Gdansk, HMM Dublin, and HMM Helsinki.

3. HMM Oslo

On the third spot in our list is the HMM Oslo container ship – a vessel in the same class as the HMM Algeciras-class of container ships but with a slightly lesser TEU capacity. The HMM Oslo’s TEU capacity is 23,820 TEUs and her gross tonnage is 232,311 gross tons. In the same class of container ships, the HMM Oslo ship has the HMM Rotterdam, the HMM Southampton, the HMM Stockholm, and the HMM St Petersburg as sister ships.

They all bear the flag of Panama and are owned by the South Korean shipping operator HMM, while having been built by either the Samsung Heavy Technologies or the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering shipbuilders.

HMM Oslo boasts a beam width of 61.5 meters (202 feet) and is 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) long. Her maximum draught is 16.5 meters (54 feet 3 inches) in water depth. 

This container ship alongside her sister ships made her maiden voyage in 2020 from South Korea to the Port of Southampton in the UK by transiting through several ports in China, the port of Singapore, and the Port of Rotterdam. 

4. MSC Gülsün

When the MSC Gülsün was launched on 9 March 2019, she was the largest container ship in the world at the moment. With a length of 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) and a berth width of 61.5 meters (202 feet), this container vessel has a total of a surface area as same as the Ever Ace, but its draught is a bit smaller – 16.5 meters (54 feet 2 inches) in depth.

The fourth ship on our list has also been produced by Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea and his cargo system is especially designed by the Finnish company MacGregor International AB.

The MSC Gülsün is equipped with 24 rows of container storing compartments and with that the ship has a TEU capacity of holding a maximum of 23,756 TEUs. Her maximum gross tonnage is 232,618 gross tons. 

She sails under the Panama flag and is in the ownership of the Swiss-Italian international shipping line Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

The MSC Gülsün class of container vessels also includes the MSC Samar, the MSC Leni, the MSC Mia, the MSC Febe, and the MSC Ambra container ships of the same size and TEU capacity.

They are all known for their advanced dual-tower design equipped with a fire-fighting system. Their compact approach of storing cargo containers makes this container ship fleet efficient by reducing the overall carbon footprint in the long run.

5. MSC Mina

The largest container ship to ever call to a port in Thailand was the MSC Mina. The 399.8 meters-long (1,312 feet) vessel arrived at the Port of Laem Chanabng on 30 July 2020. 

MSC Mina’s is part of the MSC Gulsung class of ships but it’s placed one spot lower on the list since she’s a tiny bit smaller than the first 6 ships in the same class. Her berth width is 61.0 meters (200.1 feet) with a draught depth of 6.5 meters (54 feet 2 inches).

This ship is owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company and she and four of her sister ships (MSC Isabella, MSC Arina, MSC Nela, and MSC Sixin) sail under the Panamanian flag. The rest of the ships in the same class are registered under the flag of Liberia (MSC Apolline, MSC Amelia, MSC Diletta, MSC Michelle, and MSC Allegra).

Built in South Korea by the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and the Samsung Heavy Technologies shipbuilders, MSC Mina can carry a maximum of 23,656 TEUs which equals to about 47,300 cars or over 380 million shoe pairs.

Besides the ordinary container types, MSC Mina has a capacity of carrying about 2,000 refrigerator containers which are used for transporting frozen or chilled cargo such as foods, beverages, perishables, pharmaceutical items, etc.

6. CMA CGM Jacques Saadé

CMA CGM Jacques Saadé is the largest container ship in the world that’s fueled by LNG (liquified natural gas). She is also the first vessel on this list that hasn’t been built in South Korea. The builder of CMA CGM Jacques Saadé is the China State Shipbuilding Corporation in Shanghai, China.

CMA CGM Jacques Saadé is the first sistership in a class of eight other ships that all use liquefied natural gas to power up their engines. The class includes the ships CMA CGM Louvre, CMA CGM Champs Elysées, CMA CGM Rivoli, CMA CGM Palais Royal, CMA CGM Concorde, CMA CGM Montmartre, CMA CGM Sorbonne, and CMA CGM Trocadero.

She’s owned by the French container transportation and shipping company CMA CGM Group and bears the flag of France.

The CMA CGM Jacques Saadé made her maiden voyage on September 23, 2020 on the French Asia Line route.

Her container volume capacity is 23,112 TEUs and her dimensions are the following: overall length – 399.9 meters (1,312 feet), beam length –  61.3 meters (201 feet), and maximum draught depth – 16 meters (52 feet 6 inches).

CMA CGM Jacques Saadé’ fuel tank has a capacity of 18,600 cubic meters where enough liquified natural gas can be stored to sustain a roundtrip on a French Asia Line route (Northern Europe to South-East Asia).

7. OOCL Hong Kong

OOCL Hong Kong is the lead container ship of the G-class ships built for the Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) shipping company. At the time of its launch on December 31, 2016, OOCL Hong Kong was the largest container ship in the world. At the same time, she was the first container vessel to surpass the container volume capacity mark of 21,000 TEUs.

Built by Samsung Heavy Industries, OOCL Hong Kong is based in the Port of Hong Kong and bears the flag of said country.

Statistic-wise, OOCL Hong Kong has a capacity of 21,413 TEUs and weighs a total of 210,890 gross tons. Her beam width is 58.8 meters (193 feet), the overall length comes at 399.9 meters (1,312 feet), and her draught depth is 16.0 meters (52 feet 6 inches).

OOCL Hong Kong features 24 bays for storing containers which can be placed 23-wide on each row above deck (below deck row capacity is 21 containers).

The rest of the sister ships of OOCL Hong Kong in the G-class include OOCL Germany, OOCL Scandinavia, OOCL Japan, OOCL Indonesia, and OOCL United Kingdom.

Their route usually connects East Asia (Shanghai, Yantian, Xiamen, Ningbo, Singapore) via the Suez Canal to Northern Europe (Rotterdam, Felixstowe, Gdańsk, Wilhelmshaven).

8. COSCO Shipping Universe

Our next bearer of the Hong Kong flag is the COSCO Shipping Universe container ship, a maritime giant belonging to the Universe class of ship.

COSCO Shipping Universe is in the ownership of the Chinese shipping conglomerate COSCO Shipping Lines alongside the other five sister container ships in the same Universe class – COSCO Shipping Nebula, COSCO Shipping Star, COSCO Shipping Galaxy, COSCO Shipping Planet, and COSCO Shipping Solar.

The lead container ship in this class was built at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, as the other ships in the same class.

COSCO Shipping Universe is one of the biggest container ships in size, boasting an overall length of 400 meters (1,312.3 feet), a beam of 58.6 meters (192 feet) in width, and a draught depth of 16 meters (52 feet).

The container volume capacity of this ship is 21,237 TEUs and her gross tonnage is 215,553 gross tons.

The vessels in this class feature engines with ABB Turbochargers enabling them to achieve a speed of 22 nautical miles per hour.

With its size and capabilities, the COSCO Shipping Universe is the flagship of China’s One Belt One Road initiative and crucial in maintaining the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road trade.

9. CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupéry

The second ship on this list that’s operated by the French shipping company CMA CGM is the CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupéry. She got her name after the French author (The Little Prince) and aviator Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

This container vessel is the lead ship of CMA CGM’s Antoine de Saint Exupery-class of ships that includes two other ships – the CMA CGM Jean Mermoz and the CMA CGM Louis Blériot who bears the flag of Malta, while CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupéry is registered under the French flag.

CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupéry was built by the South Korean shipbuilding company Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines. Her container volume capacity is 20,954 TEUs and her gross tonnage is set at 219,277 gross tons. The ship is 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) long, with a draft of 16 meters (52 feet), and a beam of 59 meters (193.6 feet).

The three ships in this class are equipped with diesel engines of the X92 Winterthur Gas & Diesel model, which produces a maximum speed of up to 25 mph (22 knots).

This engine model is a new generation tech that reduces carbon emissions by consuming 25% less oil than older engine models.

10. Madrid Maersk

The last of our list of top 10 largest container ships in the world is the Madrid Maersk. Even though this ship is at the tail of this list, at the time she was launched, she was a breakthrough in the industry by breaking the 20,000 TEUs capacity mark as the second ship to do so.

The Madrid Maersk is the leading ship of the Maersk’s second generation Triple-E class of container vessels which includes 11 other container ships that bear the name of notable cities in the world which begin on the letter M – Munich Maersk, Monaco Maersk, Manila Maersk, Manchester Maersk, Moscow Maersk, Murcia Maersk, Maastricht Maersk, Milan Maersk, Mumbai Maersk and Marseille Maersk.

The South Korean shipbuilding company that built the Madrid Maersk (Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering), delivered the vessel in April 2017. On April 27, 2017, the Madrid Maersk commenced her maiden voyage and her first sea port was the Port of Tianjin in China.

In ownership of the Danish shipping company Maersk Line, the Madrid Maersk bears the flag of Denmark. The ship is 399 meters long (1,309.1 feet) and 58.6 meters wide (192 feet), while she goes 16.5 meters in draught (54 feet).

Her TEU capacity is set at 20,568 TEUs and the gross tonnage is 214,286 gross tons.

Honorable Mentions – The Next 5 Largest Container Ships

The following five ships are just behind the top ten largest container ships, so they deservedly earn a section in our list. 

These ships are almost as big as the top ten ships (with a TEU capacity ranging from 20,119 to 20,182 TEUs) and are operated by some of the previously-mentioned shipping operators.

# YEAR OF LAUNCH SHIP NAME MAXIMUM TEUS COUNTRY FLAG SHIP OPERATOR BEAM WIDTH OVERALL LENGTH GROSS TONNAGE
1 2017  MOL Truth 20,182 Panama ONE (Japan) 58 meters (190.3 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 210,691
1 2018 MOL Treasure 20,182 Panama ONE (Japan) 58 meters (190.3 feet) 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) 210,691
2 2017 MOL Triumph 20,170 Marshall Islands ONE (Japan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 210,678
2 2017 MOL Trust 20,170 Marshall Islands ONE (Japan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 210,678
2 2017 MOL Tribute 20,170 Marshall Islands ONE (Japan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 210,678
2 2017 MOL Tradition 20,170 Marshall Islands ONE (Japan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 210,678
3 2019  Ever Glory 20,160 Liberia Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,775
3 2019 Ever Govern 20,160 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,688
3 2019 Ever Globe 20,160 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,775
3 2019 Ever Greet 20,160 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,688
4 2018 Ever Golden 20,124 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,079
4 2018 Ever Goods 20,124 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,079
4 2018 Ever Genius 20,124 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,400
4 2018 Ever Given 20,124 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,079
4 2018 Ever Gifted 20,124 Singapore Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,352
4 2019 Ever Grade 20,124 Panama Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 219,158
4 2019 Ever Gentle 20,124 Liberia Evergreen (Taiwan) 58.8 meters (193 feet) 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) 217,612
5 2018  COSCO Shipping Taurus 20,119 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.7 meters (193 feet) 399.8 meters (1,312 feet) 194,864
5 2018 COSCO Shipping Gemini 20,119 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.7 meters (193 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 194,864
5 2018 COSCO Shipping Virgo 20,119 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.7 meters (193 feet) 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) 194,864
5 2018 COSCO Shipping Libra 20,119 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.7 meters (193 feet) 399.7 meters (1,311 feet) 194,864
5 2018 COSCO Shipping Sagittarius 20,119 Hong Kong COSCO (China) 58.7 meters (193 feet) 399.7 meters (1,311 feet) 194,864

1. MOL Truth

The MOL Truth container ship is part of the Triumph-class of six container ships of the Japanese shipping and transport companies – Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL). She was built by the Imabari Shipbuilding company at the Saijo shipyard.

This container vessel has only one sister ship – the MOL Treasure. This ship was also ordered by MOL and is in the same Triumph-class but she was built at the Marugame shipyard by the same Japanese shipbuilding company – Imabari Shipbuilding.

Both ships have the same measurements and container volume capacity. They are 399 meters (1,309.1 feet) long with a beam that’s 58 meters (190.3 feet) wide. Their draught depth is 16 meters (52 feet).

Unlike the other four ships in the Triumph-class, MOL Truth and MOL Treasure bear the flag of Panama. They are operated by the Japanese company ONE (Ocean Network Express) and have a TEU capacity of 20,182 TEUs. Their gross tonnage is 210,691 gross tons.

MOL Truth and MOL Treasure are famous for their modern structure and eco-friendly engines which include features such as optimized hull shape, low-friction hull paint, a high-efficiency engine plant, and a high-efficiency propeller. All of these enable the ship’s reduction of carbon emissions by 30%.

2. MOL Triumph

The MOL Triumph is a container ship that’s worth mentioning because it was the first such vessel that reached the container volume capacity of 20,000 TEUs.

Like the MOL Truth and the MOL Treasure, the MOL triumph bears the name of the Triumph-class of container ships that also includes the MOL Trust, the MOL Tradition, and the MOL Tribute.

They are all operated by ONE (Ocean Network Express) and bear the flag of the Marshall Islands. All four of them were built by Samsung Heavy Technologies in North Korea on the order of MOL and were delivered from March 2017 to August 2017.

The exact TEU capacity of the MOL Triumph is 20,170 TEUs and her gross tonnage equals 210,678 gross tons. Her overall length is 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) and her beam width is 58.8 meters (193 feet). As for the draught depth, this ship can navigate ports that are at least 16 meters (52.5 feet) deep.

The ships in the Triumph class are equipped with the main engine of the model – MAN B&W G95ME which enables the ships to achieve a speed of up to 22 knots by generating 82,440 kW of maximum output power.

3. Ever Glory

On the third spot in this honorable-mentions list is the Ever Glory container ship. With a container volume capacity of 20,160 TEUs and gross tonnage of 232,311 gross tons, the Ever Glory is an Evergreen G-class container ship which is a class comprised of 4 sister ships.

In the same class of container ships, the Ever Glory ship has the Ever Govern, Ever Greet, and the Ever Globe container vessels to form the G-class fleet.

Ever Glory is the only ship in her class that bears the flag of Liberia while the other three ships are registered under the Panamanian flag. They were built in 2018 and 2019 by the Japanese shipbuilding company – Imabari Shipbuilding.

The Ever Glory, owned by the Taiwanese shipping operator Evergreen Maritime, boasts a beam width of 58.8 meters (193 feet) and is 400 meters (1,312.3 feet) long. Her maximum draught is 16 meters (52 feet 6 inches) in water depth.

4. Ever Golden

Ever Golden is the lead container ship in the same Evergreen G-class as the Ever Glory, but on a lower level as this container vessel has a lower TEU capacity. Eight other ships belong in this class as well – the Ever Given, the Ever Goods, the Ever Gifted, the Ever Genius, the Ever Gentle, and the Ever Grade.

The builder of this class of ships is the Japanese shipbuilding company – Imabari Shipbuilding, just like the Ever Glory class.

The leading ship and most of the other ships in this class are registered under the Panamanian flag, while the Ever Gifted sails under the Singaporean flag and the Ever Gentle under the Liberian one.

The Ever Golden has a container volume capacity of 20,124 TEUs and a gross tonnage of 219,079 gross tons.

Statistic-wise, the Ever Golden has a capacity of 20,124 TEUs and weighs a total of 219,079 gross tons. Her beam width is 58.8 meters (193 feet), the overall length comes at 400 meters (1,312.3 feet), and her draught depth is 16.0 meters (52 feet 6 inches).

The Ever Given container ship in this class went into the world’s headlines when it blocked the Suez Canal in March and April 2021 for a bit over 6 days and caused a serious delay in the world’s trade of goods.

5. COSCO Shipping Taurus

The last largest container ship of this article – COSCO Shipping Taurus is part of the Constellation Class comprised of 5 ships owned by the Chinese shipping conglomerate COSCO.

COSCO Shipping Taurus alongside two of its sister ships – COSCO Shipping Virgo and COSCO Shipping Sagittarius were built by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and the other two ships in the Constellation Class were built by the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company.

These ships have a total container capacity of 20,119 TEUs each and their gross tonnage is 194,864 gross tons.

All five ships sail under the flag of Hong Kong. 

The COSCO Shipping Taurus is 58.7 meters (193 feet) wide, while its length is 399.8 meters (1,312 feet). Her draught of 16 meters (52 feet) is the same as the MOL Truth.

This container vessel is famous for its modern structure implementing innovative technology in order to tackle carbon emissions. Reducing energy consumption, these shipping marvels are a suitable green alternative for modern-age trade operations.

Conclusion

Before we say farewell, here’s a quick summary of what we’ve covered above.

Here, we detailed the top 10 largest container ships in the world in 2022 and provided key information about each container ship accompanied with their most recognizable characteristics.

We also did the same for 5 more container ships which we deemed worthy of a mention.

The largest container ship – the Ever Ace, tops our list and beats the competition by being able to carry a maximum of 23,992 TEUs with a gross tonnage of 235,579 gross tons. 

In comparison, the last of the largest container ships on our list – the Madrid Maersk, still follows closely behind by having a maximum capacity of about 3,500 TEUs less that the capacity of the Ever Ace.

Using the chart on the top of our article, you can get a quick insight into the most important aspects of each container ship and see why they earned the top spots on our list.

F.A.Q

How many container ships are there in total?

As of August 2021, the world seas and oceans see over 5,500 container ships that have a total container volume capacity of more than 24.5 million TEUs.

What does Panamax-class and Suezmax-class container ships mean?

A Panamax-class container ship is a standardized size ship that can navigate through the old locks of Panama Canal. These ships are limited to a container volume capacity of 5,000 TEUs and they can have a maximum of 13 containers across deck.

A Suezmax-class container ship is a term used to describe the largest ship that can pass through the Suez Canal. The maximum depth that this canal allows is 20.1 meters (66 feet) of draught which means ships that have a bigger draught than that can’t pass the canal. Although, if a larger container ship is not fully laden, they can still pass through the Suez Canal if her draught doesn’t go deeper beyond the 20.1 meters mark.

How much cargo is transported around the world annually?

The annual cargo volume throughput was measured to be approximately 775 million TEUs in 2020 which is 33 million TEUs less than the capacity of 2019 which was 808 million TEUs.

What can you fit in a standard-size cargo container?

A 40 feet cargo container can fit over 12 thousand shoe boxes, while a standard-size cargo container can hold a bit less than 50 thousand bananas and almost 25 thousand tin cans.

How much does it cost to transport my cargo in a standard container from Asia to Europe?

Shipping prices for cargo containers largely depend on the weight of your cargo, the port of origin, the port of destination, and the length of the ship’s journey. However, you can consider the price for shipping a container full of 20 tons of cargo to be the same as the economy plane ticket for one passenger for the same trip.

Source : moverdb