Port axed from big ships route

BRITAIN'S top container port will no longer be handling the world's biggest ships after being axed from their round-the-world routes.There was great excitement last autumn when the Emma Maersk, which can carry 14,000 standard-sized boxes, sailed into Felixstowe for the first time with the arrival being broadcast all over the globe on TV.

BRITAIN'S top container port will no longer be handling the world's biggest ships after being axed from their round-the-world routes.

There was great excitement last autumn when the Emma Maersk, which can carry 14,000 standard-sized boxes, sailed into Felixstowe for the first time with the arrival being broadcast all over the globe on TV.

The vessel, which takes eight weeks to go around the world, visited again this year, as did her sister ships the Estelle Maersk and Elonara Maersk.

But now Maersk has re-drawn its routes and sent the big ships onto a new Asia-Europe service which does not include Britain.


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Port officials are disappointed but say they expect the exceptionally large ships to return in the future.

Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs, said: “It has been really nice to have them visiting here because originally they were not going to come here at all, but it is a shame that the routes have been changed.

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“However routes are changed fairly regularly by the big shipping companies and it may be that in future we will see them again.

“MSC, whose vessels use Felixstowe every week, have just ordered some ships as large as the Maersk ones and it may be that we will see these in due course.”

Maersk said it had always been the long-term plan to move the ships onto a different route.

It had reorganised several of its routes, including Asia-Europe routes, transatlantic and network and Japan-America routes, with changes to vessels on these services, to expand and improve service for customers and make them cost efficient and effective.

Industry experts say the changes also reflect Maersk's view that productivity at British ports is not high enough to handle ships the size of the Emma Maersk.

MSC has recently ordered 16 ships able to carry 13,000 containers.

Did you enjoy seeing the Emma Maersk and its sisters? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Emma Maersk

The Emma Maersk was named as Ship of the Year at the Lloyd's List 2007 awards.

She is 398-metres long and 56 metres wide and can carry up to 14,000 boxes.

Her engines have the power equal to 1,156 family cars.

The anchor weighs 29 tons - the same as five adult African elephants.

The accommodation and bridge are as high as a 12-storey building.

Despite her enormous size, she is one of the most environmentally-friendly container vessels ever built with an advanced energy efficiency system, waste heat recovery system and an electronically controlled engine.

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