Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

The cult of cheapness

Shipping, famously said the maritime economist Dr Martin Stopford, “is a branch of the social services”, offering a series of endless and wonderful bargains to the delighted souls who use ships to carry their goods around the world. If you are in the business of shipping goods by sea, you scarcely notice this cost in the total production process, even though shipper bodies get terribly exercised with any attempts of shipping companies to charge a little more. Continue reading

Cargo care – a ticking time bomb?

I may have been taken to task for blaming the cargo (weights) for breaking the MOL Comfort in half, but I am probably on a safer wicket if I suggest that it was the cargo which saw off the forepart of the ship, along with 2672 containers. Continue reading

SS Great Britain: A lesson for modern-day ship design?

A few days holiday last week, one of which was spent in and around the Great Britain, the ship built by Brunel in 1843, and which miraculously has been restored in the very dock where she was built in the port of Bristol. Far bigger than any ship that had been ever constructed, she provoked arguments about “gigantism” in the contemporary maritime community that might resonate rather well today. Continue reading

MOL Comfort – is container weight the issue?

How on earth does a 5 year old 90,000 ton containership, built by one of Japan’s finest shipyards and operated by a tip-top liner company, come to be floating in two bits 19 miles apart? Weather? Welding?

One of those 100 year waves the Met. Offices are warning us are rather more frequent?

The smart money must surely be on the stresses induced by under-declared container weights, which shippers routinely refuse to take with any seriousness whatever.

Always supposing that there is a good run through the IMO, it has been suggested that it could be another three or four years before SOLAS Regulation VI/2 which provides for the “verification” of container weights ,comes into effect. As the distinguished delegates undertake their deliberations on this matter… Continue reading