Three more big ‘uns for MSC
Feb 25, 2003
Swiss/Italian shipowner Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has placed orders with Hanjin Heavy Industries for three 8,000 TEU container ships, which will become the largest container vessels in MSC’s fleet. Delivery of the 24,5 knot ships is set for 2005.
MSC is the world’s second largest container line, having in excess of 180 ships and a container capacity of more than 420,000 TEU. The company, which was once noted for its fleet of well-maintained second-hand vessels, embarked on a newbuild splurge several years ago with ships of 3,500 TEU and 4,000 TEU capacity from several Far Eastern yards, then 6,750 TEU ships from the Korean yards of Hyundai and Daewoo, and now the latest order with Hanjin.
MSC takes delivery of its new cruise ship, the 251m long, 58,600-gt Lirica on 13 April, followed by a sister ship Opera during 2004 (see Cruise News and Reviews section)
MSC ships have been calling at South African ports for more than thirty years and the company vessels remain the largest single users of the respective container terminals. It is not unusual to have between four and six MSC ships in Durban on any single day – the record is thirteen.
For many years Durban was MSC’s fleet homeport where all the company ships were maintained, with MSC basing an engineering maintenance crew in Durban solely for this purpose.
MSC’s trading was originally between the Mediterranean and South and East Africa, which amplified after MSC introduced North Europe-Africa services but skyrocketed dramatically after MSC began global operations, by which time Antwerp had taken on a dual role with Durban as homeport for the fleet.
Today the port of Durban continues to service the same number of ships as previously although the percentage has dropped thanks to MSC’s phenomenal growth.