Thanks to its unique depth, the largest vessels in the world will be moored in the port of Rotterdam this week. On Friday 16 August, all attention will focus on the first visit of the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller. With a capacity of 18,000 TEU (twenty-foot containers), a length of 399 metres and a width of 59 metres, this vessel is by far the largest container ship in the world.
At that moment, a few other massive ships will be present in the port. The Ti Europe will be moored at Dolphins 80 in the Calandkanaal. With a length of 380 metres and width of 69 metres, this white tanker is the largest oil tanker in the world still in operation (DWT 420,000 tonnes). In addition to this, the Vale Rio is expected at EMO in the Mississippihaven on the morning of Friday, 16 August. This ship, the largest iron ore vessel in the world, measures 362 metres by 65 metres. Two years ago, the ship succeeded the Berge Stahl as the biggest iron ore carrier. The Berge Stahl will also be in the port on Friday, at EECV. The vessel measures ‘only’ 343 metres by 63.5 metres.
Increase in scale
The Berge Stahl has been sailing between Brazil and Rotterdam since 1986. For years, the ship was by far the largest vessel to call at Rotterdam, apart from a few massive oil tankers. The arrival of the new generation of iron ore vessels and container ships confirms the huge increase in scale that has taken place in shipping in recent years. This is also reflected in the port statistics. In 2006, the first container ship with a capacity of more than 10,000 TEU arrived; in 2011, 362 of such container ships called at the port. Last year, this number had already risen to 487. Despite the steady increase in throughput to over 440 million tonnes, the number of ships arriving in Rotterdam has fallen in recent years from 35,000 to 32,000.
The largest vessels in the world visit the port of Rotterdam. This is due to the depth of the port, up to almost 23 metres (the height of an eight-storey block of flats), and thanks to the Eurogeul, a channel in the North Sea stretching for 57 kilometres and with a guaranteed depth of 25 metres. This depth is mainly needed for iron ore vessels and oil tankers. When fully loaded, the Vale Rio has a draught of 23 metres and the Ti Europe a massive 24.5 metres. The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller ‘only’ has a maximum draught of 16 metres. The unique thing about the port of Rotterdam is that this ship can access the Europahaven 24 hours a day, in normal circumstances.