Ships Have Gotten Too Big

After decades of super-sizing, the shipping business needs to shrink.

Bigger isn't better anymore.

Photographer: Tim Rue/Bloomberg

In December, the quarter-mile-long Benjamin Franklin became the largest cargo ship ever to dock at a U.S. port. Five more mega-vessels were supposed to follow, creating a trans-Pacific shipping juggernaut by the end of May. But thanks to a massive miscalculation on the part of the fleet's owner -- there's not enough demand for all that shipping -- the Benjamin Franklin made its last U.S. port visit a few weeks ago.

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