Where does all the cargo go?

I accidently (?) pressed one of the commercial adds on my facebook pages and actually found it quite interesting.

The new Triple-E class container ship built by Daewoo – ordered by Maersk – is about to be commissioned. Maersk has ordered twenty of these guys to travel (half) the globe to carry cargo to and from us. Interestingly, the ship, with its 400×60-odd meters, cannot pass through the Panamas, nor dock to any port in the Americas. It can pass through the Suez though, and will mainly transport cargo between Europe and China.

Axel Maersk

When ignoring all other things like logistics, packaging, etc, etc., it leads to a couple of questions from my side;

How much can it carry?

Now, the interesting things: The ship can carry

18,270 TEU containers.

A TEU container has a volume of approximately 38.5 cub m. That makes a total of

703,395 cub m

on one of those beasts.

How much food is that?

According to assorted sources, approximately 1/2 cup of rice makes up one portion. Let’s round that upwards to 125 ml to feed us spoiled Europeans. That’s 1/8 of a liter, or 1/8000 of a cub m, i.e., we have 8,000 portions in a 1-by-1-by-1 meter box. In total we get

5,627,160,000 portions of rice

in a single container. “Almost” sufficient to feed the entire world’s population of some 7,100,000,000.

Considering that Maersk will have 20 vessels of this size, they could carry food for a couple of days around the world.

Sweden, with its mere 10,000,000 inhabitants could get

563 portions per person

from one of the ships. Assume we have rice twice a day, that would keep us going for a year or so (not too much rice pudding during Christmas though :|) .

So … is that a high or low number?

2 thoughts on “Where does all the cargo go?

  1. Just talking about the number, I think, its both high and low. Low for a single serving for everyone in the world and high (or good enough) for just Sweden.
    But for a single ship, this number is pretty impressive.

    • Yes true.

      Sometimes also when I see a freight train pass by with all these containers heading somewhere in the distance. Where does it all go … and how much does fit in one train set.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.