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New Triple E Maersk class launching below capacity

Maersk Line's first Triple-E class cargo ship—the world's largest vessel of its kind—is to set sail from a South Korean shipyard this week.

But even as hopes are high that its launch will herald a new era in container shipping, the vessel will start its life operating below capacity.

Maersk hopes that the giant ship will give the line an advantage over competitors plying the sea lanes between Europe and Asia, amid a price war that threatens some operators' ability to stay afloat.

Maersk will have to sail the vessel, which is expected to leave its shipyard on Friday, well below its capacity of 18,000 containers as the company waits for ports to upgrade.

Its first Triple-E is one of 20 that Maersk has on order but is expected to carry an average of only 14,000 containers at first, since many port gantries aren't tall enough to handle the additional boxes. Of the total of 16 ports certified to handle Triple-E size vessels, several lack the necessary gantries.


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