With a full load of containers, the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller has completed its round of port calls in Asia and departed on the long stretch west towards Europe. Leaving Malaysia on Monday, the ship has had smooth sailings for the first two weeks of the maiden voyage.
Climbing eight stories
In the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, a smaller S-Class vessel (Gertrude Maersk) berthed in front highlighted the enormity of the 400 metre long Triple-E.
It is a full eight-story climb to board the vessel, and for Datuk Muhammad Feisol Hj Hassan, a member of the Board of Directors of Maersk Line Malaysia, it was a challenging feat. He is 76 years old and was fasting on the day due to the Ramadan. But he wasn’t going to miss this opportunity for anything; it’s not every day that you get to visit the world’s largest ship.
Other dignitaries in attendance included the Danish Ambassador to Malaysia and the CEO of the Port of Tanjung Pelepas. Local media covered the event which focused not only on the vessel, but also Maersk Line’s role in facilitating global trade.
The Triple-E is not only about size and economy of scale, explained Bjarne Foldager, Maersk Line’s managing director for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. “The Triple-E vessel is also the most energy-efficient ship in the world. Its innovative design and technological features will help reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by more than 50 per cent for every container it moves, compared to the industry average on the Asia-Europe trade.”
4,800 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent) containers were loaded in Tanjung Pelepas, adding to the thousands already loaded in other ports across East Asia.
Warm Asian welcome
The official start of the journey began in South Korea on 15 July with large welcoming ceremonies in the ports of Busan and Kwangyang. That the vessel was built in the Korean town of Okpo at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering shipyard (DSME) is a source of pride for Koreans.
Subsequent port calls in China were equally celebrated. The largest container port in the world, Shanghai’s Yangshan Port, welcomed the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller with gale-force winds, calling for tugboat assistance when docking. The winds could not temper the excitement, though, as prominent guests from the city celebrated the visit with fireworks and speeches.
Leaving Yantian in Southern China, the country’s third largest port, heavy rain was followed by a clear rainbow; a fitting farewell to the Land of the Dragon, and a good omen for the onward journey.
Open seas await the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller for the next few weeks, and the crew will no doubt enjoy the brief respite from all the attention, before the next round of festivities. The vessel is scheduled to pass through the Suez Canal on 9 August, and call Rotterdam on 16 August, the first in a string of celebrations in Northern Europe.
Ship spotters and customers alike are expected to flock to see the vessel when it visits. Meanwhile, of course, containers will be loaded and unloaded, and all the goods on board will make their way to European markets and consumers, keeping the wheels of global trade in motion.
Upcoming port calls
Rotterdam, Netherlands (16 August)
Bremerhaven, Germany (18 August)
Gdansk, Poland (21 August)
Aarhus, Denmark (26 August)
Gothenburg, Sweden (27 August)
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