A new class of container ships, the Triple E, will go into service in July 2013. These vessels are 400m meters long, and use 55kt of high quality steel in their construction.

The new Triple E ships have a storage capacity of 18000 20-feet containers, enough to transport up to 36000 cars or 863M food cans.

Currently, Maersk is building 20 of these Triple E ships (the name comes from Economy of Scale, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Improvement) at an approximate cost of $190M each.

Most of the vessel is made from conventional shipbuilding steel. However, for the upper deck, hatch coamings and corner brackets in the cargo hold - which are the most sensitive areas - higher quality EH40 steel is used.

Also, special care was taken for the underwater coating to ensure resistance, and in the water ballast tanks to prevent corrosion, with a cathodic protection system installed (ICCP) to further prevent rusting.

The Triple-E is constructed in sections that are sub-contracted. These are then assembled into the final vessel by welding together.

According to an article published by The Economist magazine last March 30th, for the International Maritime Organization, ships cause about 2.7% of total man-made emissions, a bit more than planes but a lot less than cars and trucks.

Maersk argues that Triple E vessels are the most energy efficient container ships built so far. The Triple E can travel 184km using just 1 kWh of energy per tonne of cargo, whereas a jumbo jet travels half a kilometre using the same amount of energy per tonne of cargo. Compared to the average container ship on the Asia-Europe tradelane, where the ships will be deployed, the Triple E is expected to emit 50% less CO2 per container moved.

Source: worldsteel