The CSCL Globe was launched in November 2014. It is 400 m long and has space for 19,100 industry standard containers (TEU). It barely held the world record into the New Year. Shortly after, the MSC Oscar was launched in January 2015 and though actually slightly shorter it has greater capacity: 19,224 TEU.
Like the CSCL Globe, the MSC Oscar will not hold onto its world record for long. A sister ship, the MSC Oliver, launches in April 2015 with identical capacity. The Mediterranean Shipping Company is commissioning eighteen more to follow. Vessels of up to 24,000 TEUs are elsewhere on the drawing board.
It is all a far cry since the SS Ideal X launched the modern industry in 1956 with just 96 TEU (58 containers) on board. Containerization made globalization possible, and yet cargo shipping is a fiercely competitive business. It has to respond to fluctuations of operational capacity in different markets, a global shortage of properly trained mariners, and above all rises in the price of fuel.