A brand-new behemoth prowls the seas: It’s the largest ship ever built and the most gigantic risk Maersk has ever taken. The container vessel M/V Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller will ply the route between Northern Europe and China. The new class of ship is called the ­Triple-E, and Maersk has ordered 20, at a cost of $185 million each.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

A brand-new behemoth prowls the seas: It’s the largest ship ever built and the most gigantic risk Maersk has ever taken. The container vessel M/V Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller will ply the route between Northern Europe and China. The new class of ship is called the ­Triple-E, and Maersk has ordered 20, at a cost of $185 million each.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

Holy Ship

A brand-new behemoth prowls the seas: It’s the largest ship ever built and the most gigantic risk Maersk has ever taken. The container vessel M/V Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller will ply the route between Northern Europe and China. The new class of ship is called the ­Triple-E, and Maersk has ordered 20, at a cost of $185 million each.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

A Triple-E is 1,312 feet long, 194 feet wide, and weigh 55,000 tons empty. A Triple-E could carry more than 182 million iPads or 111 million pairs of shoes from Shanghai to Rotterdam.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

A Maersk employee climbs down from a platform that holds a massive propeller.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

Employees at the Daewoo shipbuilding yard do synchronized exercises after their lunch break.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

It takes a year to build, test, and deliver one Triple-E.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

A single link of the anchor chain weighs 500 pounds.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

“For Maersk and every other ship line, these are big, big decisions, because if you get it wrong, you can end up dead,” says Marc Levinson, an economist and author of The Box, a history of the container-ship industry. “When a company like Maersk orders these vessels, it’s betting the company.”

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek