If you have noticed the expanding size of cargo ships, then you are correct because the ships are getting bigger to hold more containers and to become more fuel-efficient. The result is lower costs, which is better for ocean freight shipping rates. The largest vessels of our time can range in size from 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to the possibility of a vessel that is 24,000 TEU.
While larger ships may seem like a great thing for international shipping on the surface, there are many inherit risks that could plague these bigger ships. And numerous freight forwarders are concerned about these risks. Many carriers are trying to lower their costs for the crew on the ships, which means a higher risk of accidents. There is a lack of trained captains for these ships, and human errors can lead to major problems. It is estimated that it would take nearly two years to recover containers from a large vessel stranded at sea.
Numerous problems can be intensified on a large vessel, like groundings or fires. A larger ship in an accident can block a port or lane, which prevents other ships from passing. Many ports lack the proper resources to handle larger ships. The Wall Street Journal reported that springing, which involves the vibration of the hull from the waves, could increase on larger ships and result in more accidents at sea.
In the past, even smaller container vessels involved in accidents would cost billions of dollars in losses. This accident price tag could increase for a larger ship. If there is one historical lesson that we can learn from the Titanic, it is that ships that are bigger are not necessarily better.