What does the introduction of larger sea vessels, like the CSCL Globe, mean for the freight forwarding industry, James Thorpe of CML explores the issue...
There is no doubt that the introduction of the CSCL Globe, the largest container ship in the world, has increased competition for larger vessels within the freight forwarding industry.
The vessell, owned and operated by China Shipping Container Lines, which is longer than the Shard in London is tall, can carry a staggering 19,100 20 ft. containers yet requires a crew of just 31 to navigate it from Asia to Europe.
As freight fees are so cheap it's unsurprising therefore that 95 per cent of the world's trade is delivered by big ships - and the bigger the ship, the cheaper the cargo cost.
With this in mind, it's no wonder that competition to launch the biggest ship has been fierce. Operators are constantly trying to reduce operating costs per container and as soon as one line gets a big ship the others follow suit, afraid that if they don't they will lose trade.
A vessel capable of carrying 19,000 tons is just the start and in the future we are likely to see 22,000 ton vessels if not even larger ships, because as the world's economies continue to grow, so does our increasing need for food and goods. As a result, trade across the oceans will rise - and so will the demand for ships to carry it.
The CSCL Globe, built in South Korea, is part of a fleet of container ships that have transformed global trade. In fact, our modern way of life would be impossible without container ships, because shipping is a highly efficient industry which can see huge cargoes unloaded in a day.
I therefore believe that shipping will continue to play an important role in the freight forwarding industry, as ships remain the best, most economical and most environmentally friendly means of transport available. Furthermore, bigger ships mean you can carry more cargo efficienctly so fuel footprint per ton is smaller, however to achieve a reduced fuel intake and emissions output, ships have to be fully loaded.