This commentary was written by Lori Ann LaRocco. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of FreightWaves or its affiliates. The word "historic" in the maritime and logistics industry has become so overused that its meaning now is watered down (yes, pun intended). Every week, there seems to be more "historic" news to report. Take your pick: congestion at the ports, container prices, containers falling into the ocean, the denial of trade o
Had the sons of a Taiwanese shipping dynasty listened to their late father’s advice, one of their container ships may never have become grounded in the Suez Canal. The Ever Given, the gigantic container ship whose stranding has left global trade in chaos, is a symbol of operator Evergreen Marine’s new strategy since the passing of Chang Yung-fa, who founded what was once the world’s biggest container line more than half a century ago. Chang, who was awarded a CBE in 2006 for "services to shipping and British economic interests", opposed running larger ships like many of Evergreen’s competitors. According to industry bible Lloyd’s List he once ruled out operating any liners larger than 8,000 teu - a measure used in container shipping known as 20ft equivalent units. The Ever Given has a capacity of 20,388 teu, however. Since Chang’s death in 2016, Evergreen has sought to reclaim its position as the world’s biggest container liner by concentrating on such gigantic vessels. His eldest son Chang Kuo-hua has played the most active role among his family in running the business, according to reports. The public face of Evergreen is chairman Anchor Chang, who is not related. In 2019, Evergreen unveiled plans costing $1.6bn (£1.2bn) to construct and charter up containerships of up to 23,000 teu each. The Ever Given, which is 400 metres long - the length of four football pitches - and nearly 60 metres wide, was chartered from Japanese investor Shoei Kisen Kaischa. It is worth an estimated $170m.