Largest container ships by year

an extract of our list of size record breaking container vessels from 1969 to 1984. Vessels listed in extract are: 1969: Encounter bay (1530 TEUs), 1971: Liverpool bay (2961 TEUs), 1972: Hamburg express (2984 TEUs), 1980: Neptune garnet (3268 TEUs), 1981: Frankfurt express (3430 TEUs), 1984: American New York (4614 TEUs), 1990: Magleby (4819 TEUs), 1994: NYK Altair (4953 TEUs)

In the below table, you can find our list of largest container vessels, in terms of TEU capacity, by year – the record breaking container vessel of the year.

The data it contains is based on our own research and publicly available information. It is often based on our interpretation of possibly diverging or even contradictory information and therefore may contain incorrect information or certain record breaking vessels may have been missed.
If you spot an issue, feel free to leave a comment with a reference link and we will be happy to fix it.

Feel free to re-use this data / table but please share this page or as its source.

If a year or multiple year windows are not listed it means that based on our information the previous record breaking vessel was still holding the record.

For example, American New York was the largest container vessel from 1984 until 1990 when Magleby was built.

YearOriginal nameIMOTEU capacity
1969Encounter bay68184611,530
1971Liverpool bay71267622,961
1972Hamburg express71299342,984
1980Neptune garnet78193713,268
1981Frankfurt express79095923,430
1984American New York82126114,614
1994NYK Altair90739954,953
1995APL China90743895,108
1996Regina Maersk 90855226,418
1997Sovereign Maersk91208418,160
2003Anna Maersk92604218,272
2004CSCL Asia92859768,500
2005Gjertrud Mærsk93202339,074
2012CMA CGM Marco Polo945443616,020
2013Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller961990718,270
2014CSCL Globe969512119,100
2015MSC Oscar970329119,224
2016MSC Diana975593319,462
2017OOCL Hong Kong977617121,413
2019MSC Gülsün983943023,756
2020HMM Algeciras986329723,964
2021Ever Ace989389023,992
2022Ever Alot989395524,004
Our list of largest container vessels by year. Source –

CMA CGM Brazil – Very Large Container Ship (VLCS) in action.

Crowd gathers to see the Very Large Container Ship - CMA CGM Brazil - approach the port of Charleston on its record breaking journey.

You can see below a video of the container ship CMA CGM Brazil, a container vessel from the Very Large Container Ship category, approaching the port of Charleston, S.C. where it docked at the Wando Welch Terminal.

In September 2020, it set the record for the largest vessel ever to enter the port of New York & New Jersey and to dock on the U.S. East Coast. Here approaching the port of Charleston.

Continue reading CMA CGM Brazil – Very Large Container Ship (VLCS) in action.

Container port animation

Today, 18% of the global ocean cargo is moved thanks to shipping containers, container vessels, and container ports or terminals. But how do containers ports work?

Container ports can be gigantic like the Shanghai container port through which over 40 000 000 TEUs* pass each year or small local single quays possibly relying on the gears (cranes) of the arriving vessel for the loading operations.
They can be fully automated – calling upon automated cranes, handling and repositioning equipment – or can rely on a qualified workforce operating specialized equipment and cranes.

Continue reading Container port animation

2020 world merchant fleet

An icon for our article on the worldwide merchant fleet

Based on the publicly available UNCTAD data, the world merchant fleet was composed of over 95,000 vessels in 2020.
The total deadweight* of this gigantic fleet was over 2,000,000 thousand tons – meaning that in 2020 the merchant fleet had the capacity to carry (all in : crew, cargo, fuel, ballast,….) over 2,000,000,000 tons at any one point in time.

Continue reading 2020 world merchant fleet