The cavernous cargo holds of container ships are measured in TEUs – 20-foot equivalent units. Each TEU represents one standard six-metre (20-foot)-long shipping container, the ‘intermodal’ boxes that can be lifted by crane from ship to train and from train to truck. The Maersk Triple E, which sailed its maiden voyage from Asia to Europe on 15 July 2013 can hold 18,000 shipping containers – enough to transport 111 million pairs of shoes; Maersk now has 20 more Triple Es on order from Korean shipbuilder Daewoo. The three ‘E’s in the ship’s name stand for economy of scale, energy efficiency and environment. With a maximum speed of 23 knots (42.5 kilometres/26 miles per hour), the Triple E may not be the fastest vessel around, but it consumes 35 per cent less fuel than its smaller rivals and produces 50 per cent less CO2 per container. While it is a giant, its dimensions remain practical, meaning that it can still navigate the world’s major ports and canals.
Length: 400m (1,312ft)
Width: 59m (193ft)
Height: 73m (240ft) above baseline
Deadweight: 165,000 tons