The Hong Kong was commissioned by shipping operators OOCL on 31 March 2015 and was built by Samsung Heavy Industries in their Geoje shipyards in Korea at a cost of £128 million. The vast ship was delivered to OOCL in May of 2017.
Initial construction work on Hong Kong was started on December 24 2015. The huge ship was launched just over a year later on 31 December 2016.
OOCL has held the world record for the largest container vessel before. In April of 2003, the company took delivery of the OOCL Shenzhen, also built by Samsung Heavy Industries. OOCL have expressed their commitment to commissioning larger container vessels for their fleet in order to maximise efficiency and keep costs down in order to compete within the market. The creation of even larger vessels such as the OOCL Hong Kong does not, therefore, seem to be just a publicity exercise or competition to build the biggest.
The Hong Kong was built for a very specific purpose to serve on the route to Northern Europe from Shanghai, Singapore, Xiamen, Yantian and Ningbo. The vessel’s route will take it through the Suez Canal to Felixstowe in the UK, Rotterdam in Holland, Wilhelmshaven in Germany and Gdansk in Poland. Round trips of approximately 77 days are planned.
The Hong Kong’s maiden voyage saw her put in at Felixstowe, her last stop, in June 2017. The giant ship attracted national media coverage and thousands of locals arrived to watch her put in. The visit of the Hong Kong to Felixstowe was significant and historic not just because of its size and capacity, but because it was the first vessel of the Ocean Alliance to put in at Felixstowe for 17 years. The Ocean Alliance is an operational agreement between the largest operators of shipping, and OOCL is members of that alliance.
The OOCL Hong Kong arrived at Felixstowe with over 19,000 containers, approaching the vessel’s full capacity.
The Hong Kong is 399.87 metres long and 58.80 metres wide. Gross tonnage is 210,890. The Hong Kong can handle a maximum of well over 21,000 containers. Propulsion is diesel-electric of 80,080 kilowatts driving twin shafts.
The Hong Kong is a ULCV or Ultra Large Container Vessel. The capacity of these ships is calculated in what is known as TEU. TEU stands for Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit. This is a measurement of the capacity of a standard intermodal container of twenty feet in length. The measurements are not entirely accurate as while the length of twenty feet is fairly standard, height varies. Hong Kong’s capacity is well over 20,000 TEU, currently the largest in the world.