The E-class ships reportedly will replace the 13,102-TEU Maersk Ensenada and 13,568-TEU Maersk Essen for the duration of one round voyage.
They are the largest ships to trade in the transpacific since CMA CGM had a mega-ship, the 18,000 TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin make two experimental voyages between Asia and Europe in the winder of 2015-2016.
According to BlueWater Reporting, the Eleonora Maersk is set to sail on Nov. 9, followed by the Eugen Maersk on Nov. 16.
Carriers have deployed more capacity onto the transpacific in recent months as spot rates have picked up from the lows of below $1,000 per FEU to February to highs in excess of $2,500, according to reports.
While ships as large as the Eleonora Maersk and Eugen Maersk are unusual in the transpacific, Lars Jensen, the chief executive officer of SeaIntelligence Consulting, told attendees of the Intermodal Association of North America in September that larger ships might “cascade” into the Pacific in future months.
He explained that most of the new ship capacity being added to the container fleet is in ultra-large containerships with capacity of more than 18,000 TEUs. By default, those ships will go into the Asia-Europe trade, and the vessels they displace likely will cascade into the transpacific. He cautioned that as those bigger ships come into service, he expects the number of weekly services from Asia to the United States will be reduced.
Data from the Bluewater Capacity Report shows 3.2 million TEUs currently are allocated each week from China to regions across the globe. Weekly allocated TEUs from China grew at a rate of 4.52 percent between October 2016 and October 2017 and 4.91 percent between October 2017 and October 2018, BlueWater said, noting that Chinese growth of nearly 10 percent in two years will be hard to maintain if the trade war continues to escalate.