At the end of March the French container line CMA CGM took delivery of the first vessel in a series of three 17,700TEU ships which will be deployed on the line Asia-Europe services. CMA CGM Kerguelen is the first of six 17,000+ TEU ships ordered in 2013. At the time of the order, they were specified with capacities of around 16,000TEU, similar to the current Marco Polo class. However, during the building phase they had their capacities increased.
All six vessels are due for delivery by the end of 2015. The first three are being built by South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries, each with a capacity of 17,722TEU. A further three vessels are under construction at the Chinese state-owned Jiangnan Changxing yard, each with a 17,859TEU capacity.

CMA CMG Kerguelen is named after the 18th century French explorer Yves Joseph De Kerguelen De Trémarec, who discovered the isolated Kerguelen Islands in the Southern Indian Ocean. She has an overall length of 398m, and a width of 54m equating to 22 boxes wide. In common with all ships of this size she has the twin-island layout.

CMA CGM Kerguelen has been deployed on CMA CGM’s FAL 1 service and in March began her maiden voyage to her first port, Tianjin, after which she called at Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Chiwan, Yantian, Port Klang, Tanger Med, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre and Malta, before heading back to the Far East. The next ship in the series will be CMA CGM Georg Forster.

At the same time as it took delivery of its largest ship to date, and on the back on achieving some of the best financial results in the industry, the French line announced that it has placed an order with Hanjin Heavy Industries for three 20,600 TEU vessels with delivery in 2017, although the new ships will not be LNG ready.

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