Cargo container ships, transporting international intermodal containers across the seas, are huge and impressive constructions. Shipping lines have been competing about making the largest and most efficient ships, carrying the most TEU’s. Many pictures are taken of the outside of these impressive constructions, but what does the inside look like? This post will provide insights to the world’s largest shipping company, Maersk’s, largest container ship named Maersk McKinney Moller, after the founding CEO.

This post will provide insights to the world’s largest shipping company, Maersk’s, largest container ship named Maersk McKinney Moller, after the founding CEO.

Impressive size of the Maersk container ship

Being a part of the company’s series of triple E class ships, it is among the largest and most efficient container ships in the world. Triple E is short for “Economy of scale, Energy efficiency and Environmentally improved”. With a length of 399m, it is able to carry 18.270 TEUs. The ship is equipped with fuel-efficient engines that can sail at a speed of 23 knots while reducing emissions by 20% compared to other ships. Ultimately, this leads to 50% less CO2 emission per shipping container. The dead weight, maximum capacity, is 194153 t. The amount of TEUs within this weight varies a lot depending on what the containers are carrying.

In the case of empty container repositioning, the vessel is able to carry many more TEUs. Here at xChange, we want to help the industry avoiding these costly and inefficient empty container moves, by providing an online platform with more than 200 partners engaging in one-way SOC container moves. In this manner, we have more than 230.000 available containers on our platform and are always looking for users of them and more suppliers. The vessel typically employs 19-26 workers, from different nationalities, often such as Danish, Indian, Philippine, and American.

Typical facilities inside of a Maersk container ship

Though working on a cargo ship is hard work, much is done to make the working periods, stretching from weeks to months, more convenient and relaxing for the workers when they are not on duty. On board this particular container ship, workers have the possibility to take a swim in a deck swimming pool when the climate gets too hot. However, mostly used in the very hot regions, such as on the travel through the Suez channel. Other means of entertainment can be a movie in the cinema, a read from the library or hanging out in one of the three lounge areas with card tables, ping pong, and table soccer.

For those wanting to stay in shape, there is a well-equipped gym with facilities ranging from dumbbells to treadmills. Even though the workday is physically demanding, it is important for workers to always stay in shape, as this is a requirement to keep the working contract.

Meals and accommodation on board 

The workers are also not going to bed hungry, besides an outdoor barbecue area, a chef is cooking all meals for them, served as a buffet which would typically contain multiple dishes to satisfy the variety of nationalities on board. Also, there could be desserts, such as waffles and ice-cream. All made from the large industrial kitchen with both cooler – and freezer rooms.

Regarding accommodation, every worker has their own room. These rooms are like small suites, with a couch area, desk, bed and own bathroom. The size and facilities depend on job rank. Also, there is wifi and satellite connection available, however, at swinging pace depending on location.

Q&A – Maersk container ship 

What positions are there on a Maersk container ship?

There are many jobs on a container ship, and usually, they fall in different ranks in one of the following main departments: Officer; responsible for navigation and operations, Engineers; responsible for engine departments and Service; responsible for cooking and cleaning.

How many people live on a container ship?

It varies of what size the ship is and how much cargo it carries, however, every ship will have a minimum number of employees needed to safely operate the vessel, as dictated by the Minimum Safe Manning Certificate. Practically, the number of employees on cargo ships fluctuate between 13-35, depending on factors such as ship type, distance, area of operation and company policy.

What facilities are there on board?

Though a container ship is a working place, much is done to make the working periods, that stretches from weeks to months, more convenient and relaxing for the workers when they are not on duty. See article “life on a Maersk container ship”, to see real examples of facilities.

Ships would most likely be equipped with a lounge, where workers would be able to socialize and be entertained. There could be books, tv, games such as table soccer and ping pong, or cards. Also, some container ships are having a simple and small swimming pool that the staff can relax in. Others have primitive gyms so that the staff can stay active while on board.

What do workers eat?

There is typically a cook that prepares all meals for the workers. The cuisine and quality vary, depending on the nationality of the chef, as well as the nationality of the workers. In some cases, the chef will make sure that every meal has something for everyone, while other chefs will just serve one dish per meal.

 What does a room on board of a Maersk container ship look like?

Every worker would typically have their own room. They would vary in size and facilities, depending on rank, however, most would include couch, desk, bed and own bathroom.

What are the working hours?

Typically, a working day would be somewhere between 10-14 hours. Often people would be off around 19.00, however, some would have to carry out watches during the night, requiring extra working hours. Also, in the event of an emergency, workers would be required to work more on solving the problem.

Is it social?

Workers are able to socialize and play games together on many occasions, however, cultural differences and different ranks can discourage communication between workers.

Is alcohol allowed?

International regulations dictate that alcohol consumption during work and 4 hours prior to working is prohibited. In some companies, consumption is prohibited at all times and with others “controlled consumption” is allowed sometimes.

Do workers get to experience every city they arrive at?

Not in most cases. Loading and unloading times at the ports are so fast, that it has become a matter of hours, rather than days as back in the days. Also, even though the crew has 8 hours in the port, paperwork and meeting with authorities or random checks often take up most of the time.

As seen, jobs on a container ship are hard and entails restrictions and not seeing your beloved ones for months. xChange makes sure that this isn’t just done to carry empty containers, but to carry full loaded containers at the pleasure of global consumers. Our platform makes it easy to supply and use SOC one-way containers, through our extensive network of more than 200 partners. Ultimately decreasing the frequency of empty container movements.