MSC Takes Delivery of Its First 24,000 TEU Ultra Large Containership

MSC ultra large container vessel
MSC's first ultra large was delivered today in China (CSSC)

Published Mar 9, 2023 12:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) took delivery today in China on the first of its new class of ultra large container vessels. The MSC Tessa is being promoted by its Chinese builders as the largest containership currently completed and delivered in the world with a capacity rating of 24,116 TEU. 

With the global slowdown in container volumes, MSC reportedly deferred the delivery of the vessel which was completed in November 2022, first scheduling its first voyage for February and now for March. The MSC Tessa is being placed on the Lion Route due to depart on her first trip on March 16 from Ningo with stops in Shanghai and Yantian. She will be calling at Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Felixstowe in Northern Europe with a call at Tanger during the return trip before proceeding to Singapore.

The orders for MSC’s new class of ULCVs were split across several shipyards in China with a total of 14 vessels similar in design expected to be delivered in 2023. The MSC Tessa was built by Hudong-Zhoghua, one of the shipyards in the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) in Shanghai. The yard highlights that she was independently designed, and classed by DNV, although all the ships feature the same basic characteristics. They are 1,312 feet in length, which makes them almost 200 feet longer than a typical aircraft carrier. The beam is nearly 202 feet. The loading configuration varies slightly between the yards which accounts for the variation in reported capacity between the 24,116 TEU for the MSC Tessa and five sister ships being built at the same yard and 24,346 TEUs for the vessels being built by the Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group. All the vessels can stack boxes up to 25 layers.

Hudong Zhonghua highlights several energy-saving features incorporated into the design of the vessels. They employ a small bulbous bow, large diameter propellers, and energy-saving ducts. They are the first MSC ships built with an air lubrication system to reduce drag on the hull and shaft generators to yield additional power. Shipyard officials estimated that the technology will provide a three to four percent energy savings which could reduce CO2 emissions by more than 6,000 tons a year.


(Click the image to see views of the ship on Chinese state television)


The shipyard reports the second ship of the class has completed sea trials and is due for delivery shortly. The third and four vessels they are building are also progressing with delivery completed by August. The other vessels of the class are also nearing delivery. Yangzijiang Shipbuilding recently floated out two additional vessels, the MSC Mariella and MSC Michel Cappellini, after floating two earlier vessels, MSC Irina and MSC Loreto, in November 2022. This yard is building a total of six of the vessels in the class.

The ultra large class will consist of a total of 14 vessels. Alphaliner reports MSC’s total orderbook currently stands at 131 vessels. When completed all the new ships equal a third of MSC’s current fleet and will have a total capacity of 1.7 million TEU. While the current ships are conventionally fueled, MSC is also beginning to operate LNG dual-fuel vessels. The company has tested biofuels and says it will expand its use in the near term. MSC also ordered its first ammonia-ready designs last month to be built in China.

MSC’s behemoths join with the new giants coming from OOCL, which took delivery of its first 24,000 TEU ships recently. Hapag-Lloyd is also preparing for the introduction of its ultra large vessels while Evergreen pioneered with the first of the 24,000 TEU vessels.