Innovation in Steel: Triple E ships set new era in transportation.

According to a recent article published by worldsteel – the association that represents steel producers globally and of which Alacero is a member - a new class of container ships, the Triple E, will go into service as of July 2013. These vessels are 400 meters long, taller than London Olymipic Stadium, and each is made of 55 thousand tons of high quality steel (8.4 times the steel used in the Eiffel Tower or the equivalent to the required to produce 186 thousand Harley-Davidson motorcycles).  


New Triple E ships have a storage capacity of 18.000 20-feet containers, enough to transport up to 36.000 cars or 863 million food cans. If all these containers were put in line, they would reach 110 km long. If they were put on top of each other, they would reach the stratosphere (47 km).


Currently, Maersk is building 20 of these Triple E ships (the name comes from Economy of Scale, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Improvement) at an approximate cost of 190 million dollars per unit.


Most of the vessel is made from shipbuilding mild steel. However, for the upper deck, hatch coamings and corner brackets in the cargo hold -which are the most sensitive areas - higher quality EH40 steel is used.  


Also, special care was taken for the underwater coating to ensure resistance, and in the water ballast tanks to prevent corrosion, with a cathodic protection system installed (ICCP) to further prevent rusting.


The Triple-E is constructed in blocks that are sub-contracted. Then the blocks are assembled into the final vessel, with great deal of precision and organization.  


According to an article published by The Economist magazine last March 30th, for the International Maritime Organization, ships cause about 2.7% of total man-made emissions, a bit more than planes but a lot less than cars and trucks.  


Maersk argues that Triple E vessels are the most energy efficient container ships built so far. The Triple E can travel 184 kilometers using 1 kWh of energy per ton of cargo, whereas a jumbo jet travels half a kilometer using the same amount of energy per ton of cargo. Compared to the average container ship on the Asia-Europe tradelane, where the ships will be deployed, the Triple E is expected to emit 50% less CO2 per container moved.


Source: Alacero, Latin America Steel Association.

 

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