Evergreen has topped the carbon efficiency ranking in the transatlantic trade between North Europe and the US east coast, according to the latest Xeneta ‘naming and faming’ study.

In Q2 23, the route saw dramatic improvement in its carbon efficiency index (CEI), Xeneta and Marine Benchmark’s preferred metric for measuring emissions performance. It improved by 10%, bringing the 99.7 points recorded in Q1 down to 90.3.

Xeneta suggested this was down to major CEI performance improvement by Cosco, which came second, and OOCL in third, with scores of 73.7 and 79, respectively, lifting the tradelane average. Evergreen and OOCL both improved by 7% from Q1 to Q2 2023. COSCO leapfrogged OOCL in the ranks to go 2nd after improving 19%.

The prodigious average size (13,700 teu, more than double the average on the trade) and slower speed (1.1 knots less than the 14.3-knot trade average) of each Evergreen vessel boosted the carrier’s ranking through Q2.

As the first shipping line to break the 24,000 teu barrier with a series of vessels ordered last year, Evergreen has long pursued a ‘bigger-is-better ‘strategy. However, there are signs that the pendulum may at last be swinging back the other way.

Xeneta Chief Analyst Peter Sand told The Loadstar that the “majority” of recent containership orders – including for 24 methanol-fuelled vessels Evergreen ordered in July – were in the “more flexible” size bracket of 12,000 to 16,000 teu.

“I think we have reaped the benefits of going from 10,000-15,000 teu, through to 24,000,” he said.

But asked if sizes had reached the point of diminishing returns, Mr Sand said efficiencies of scale were “…improving more slowly as the ships get bigger”. He added: “You limit yourself to operating mainly on the front hauls. A [theoretical] 50,000 teu ship would be far from twice as efficient.”

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