Monday, 25 October 2004
The largest containership in the world visits Rotterdam. It carries 8.468 containers. CSCL Asia It is a volume that is too much for me to comprehend. China Shipping Line had two of these giants constructed, the CSCL Asia and the CSCL Europe.

My sister Gabriëlla Nootenboom is an employee of China Shipping in Rotterdam. She invited me to come and see the vessel at ECT's delta terminal.

Vessel is too small a word. This new ship is a giant. Given my airline background I am used to big airplanes, but compared to this giant a jumbo jet is just a insignificant aircraft. The coach that brought us here looks like a toy next to this giant. Just the name of the ship outsizes the whole bus many times.

Climbing aboard takes a major stairway, yet we are just at "deck-level". Climb another 7 floors till we reach the bridge. There is an elevator available, but it carries 5 persons at most. A coach full of Rotterdammers does not fit.


CSCL Asia Ship Manager
talking to Gabriëlla Nootenboom

Picture by: July

The bridge is at the very top floor. It is the largest collection of electronics, gauges, lights and computer buttons I have ever seen. The Chinese captain is a bit silent. I guess he longs to have quietness restored on his bridge, can't wait to sail away.

His colleague, the ships manager is much more talkative. Full of pride he explains about his crew of 23, the ship, the work. A duty roster shows the shifts, 4 hour duties, followed by 8 hour rest.


The view at the ECT delta terminal is fantastic, from the side of the bridge. This delta terminal has been highlighted as an example of fine information technology in many IT magazines. Automatically controlled cars transport the containers to a storage location. It is a strange experience to see all those cars driving around containers without any human on board. The green China Shipping containers find their way, get stacked by automatic cranes. At the other die the containers head for the final destination, somewhere in Europe, by truck.


The Chinese celebrate this first arrival as only Chinese can do, with food: Chinese spring rolls, pies, cookies, dim-sums, with Chinese beer and even Chinese coca-cola. The crowd of Rotterdammers looks a bit amazed to all these delicacies. Especially the steamed dim-sum is very unknown. What are these for slimy things? Who dares to take one? Well, there is more to Chinese food than the well known sweet and sour pork.

Engine room

A visit to the engine room is the finishing touch of the party. The room is gigantic. The battery is the smallest component, which makes me feel like a small boy.

Going down the stairs I realise again how high deck level really is. This is not a ship, it is a giant for which superlatives are not enough.

Till next nut,

IM Simon Goede, † oct 2004, KLM IT manager