Maths activity – journey time of a Maersk container ship
October 14, 2015

In Super Transport we’ve included a tactile and audio guide to a Maersk container ship.

Container ship

Container ships travel staggering distances across the globe and it can be a fun maths activity to work out the distances travelled and the time it takes. Have to hand a globe or a map of the world and a toy of a container ship, or make one out of junk modelling. You might also want to search for Google Maps on your computer, iPad or smartphone.

OK, let’s do some maths and work out how far container ships travel and how long it takes.

Question: if a container ship travels at an average speed of 18 knots, or 18 nautical miles per hour, can you work out these distances and the journey times?

Trip 1 – Port A: Shanghai, China to Port B: Felixstowe, UK


Trip 2 – Port A: Hong Kong, China to Port B: Los Angeles, USA

How to work it out:

First you will need to use an atlas, or go online (try Google Maps) to find out exactly where these places are in the world.

Then you will need to research how far in nautical miles it is from port A to B for each trip. (Tip – try searching online for a distance converter to help you work it out)

You then divide the distance in nautical miles by the average speed of a container ship which is 18 nautical miles per hour.

The answer will tell you how many hours it takes to travel from port A to port B.

Then, if you divide the number of hours by 24 (because there are 24 hours in a day) you can work out how many days the journey would take.

Off you go, and don’t forget to let us know your answers!

The Maersk website is packed with loads more stats and facts about their fleet. There are also online vessel tours, an interactive history timeline and a live map tracking the ships as they travel around the world.

If your child loves vehicles then you’ll really want to borrow this Touch to See book.

Support our work

Donate Online

Donate By Phone +44 (0) 1635 299 771

Donate By Cheque payable to:
Living Paintings
Unit 8 Kingsclere Park | Kingsclere | Newbury | Berks | RG20 4SW

Your guide to our website