Over the past 20 years, since the break-up of the Soviet bloc, increasing trade with Baltic nations has resulted in a massively increased demand for container ships for the feeder trades between Bremerhaven/Hamburg and Baltic ports, operating via the Kiel Canal. For many years the Sietas yard in Hamburg built classes of ships of ever-increasing size for the trade. The type 151 design of the early 1990s could carry about 500TEU, while a decade later Type 168 vessels were carrying up to 868TEU through the Canal.
In recent years Type 178, or ‘Baltic Max’ vessels, have been built for the trade carrying 1,712TEU to Russia. Now other larger ships are being chartered for Baltic services, one of which is the Liberian-flagged Miltiadis Junior III (2010/18,199gt). Built at the Wadan Yard at Wismar, her German owners refused to accept her, so she was acquired by another German operator. Built to the Aker CS 1700 design, she can carry 1,712TEU and has now been sold to Greek owners, being chartered for services to Gdynia and Klaipeda.