In 1972, Sea-Land took delivery of eight new containerships with extraordinary specifications. Ships that would be fast enough to cut full days from thetransatlantic and transpacific crossing times. Two different European yards turned out the SL-7 Class. The eight SL-7s that joined the Sea-Land fleet could maintain 33 knots, 10 to 15 knots faster than any other cargo ship then in service.
The superliner SS United States may have wrested the transatlanticspeed record from the Queen Mary in 1952, but the Sea-Land Exchange, one of the SL-7s, crossed the North Atlantic in August 1973 at 34.92 knots, only 0.97 knots slower than the United States. Another SL-7, Sea-Land Commerce, is the all-time speed champion in the transpacific merchant trade.