Big ships hurt global trade

The very large container ships (14,000 TEU’s* or larger) were supposed to help commerce – they have not because they go against all lean principles:
  • They steam slower (18 vs. 24 knots)
  • They take longer to unload (not just the number of containers but how far cranes need to reach)
  • When they are unloading, ports get congested and slow down – witness the shortage of chassis
  • The combination of these factors drives inventory up
Summary:  smaller, more frequent faster sailings would be better for everybody except the steamship lines who see lower operating costs with these mighty ships. 

*TEU – number of 20 ft containers they can carry