Since the mid-2000s, the maximum size of containerships has doubled. In 2020, the biggest vessels in operation exceeded 23.000 TEU capacity. The largest vessels of all operate at the Far East-Europe routes, also calling in ports in the Gulf and Indian Sub-Continent (ISC). It is in this route that the biggest vessel of all is currently (2020) operating (23.964 TEU). North American ports also serve some of the largest container vessels in operation, with the biggest vessel of all those calling North America having a 23.756 TEU capacity. A decade ago, in 2010, the maximum vessel size in all these regions of the world was standing at less than 15.000 TEU.
The biggest vessels do not call in the other regions of the world. The biggest container vessel calling in sub-Saharan Africa stands at 15.000 TEU capacity, in Latin America at a capacity slightly less than that (14.354 TEU) and in Oceania at 11.000 TEU. Yet, since 2010 the scale of the maximum container vessel calling has doubled in these regions of the world as well.
The increase in vessel size is not reflected in the maximum size vessel only. It has been accompanied by a cascading effect in the feeder market as well. As larger vessels call at major hubs, the feeder market is served by vessels that had been previously engaged in main maritime transportation routes, increasing the pressures to medium and small size container ports to adjust as well. Today, calls of post-Panamax size vessels take place in a large cluster of container ports in all different parts of the world. Ports have to continuously adjust to this upscaling of operations both in terms of infrastructure and operations.