Politics of scale: Colossal containerships and the crisis in global shipping

In this article Hege Høyer Leivestad and Elisabeth Schober use the case of the HMM Algeciras to unpack some of the flipsides of contemporary shipping and address overcapacity and crisis in global shipping. 

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In the article Hege Høyer Leivestad and Elisabeth Schober address overcapacity and crisis in global shipping through the case of the HMM Algeciras, the world's largest containership inaugurated in 2020. When she left the South Korean shipyard where she was built, the HMM Algeciras (with a size of two soccer fields) could carry 24,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) across the world's oceans.

By following the mega-containership's links to two South Korean shipping companies, Hyundai Merchant Marine and Hanjin Shipping, and her connections to a southern European port, the authors unpack some of the current flip sides of global maritime shipping.

In the article, the authors argue that the promise of profit and endless growth, which has led to overcapacity in global maritime shipping, is spurred on by what they call ‘false economies of scale’. Claims of the future profitability of colossal containerships are, they argue, state-driven political performances of scale.

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Published June 7, 2021 2:11 PM - Last modified June 7, 2021 2:11 PM