'Marco Polo' becomes largest box ship to ever call on an USEC port
THE CMA CGM Marco Polo became the biggest cargo vessel to ever dock on the US East Coast, passing under the Bayonne Bridge last Thursday and sailing through the Kill Van Kull on its way to Port Elizabeth to make it the ship's first port of call in the US.
The vessel shattered the record set by The CMA CGM Brazil when it passed under the Bayonne Bridge in September, according to New Jersey's Hudson Reporter.
When it was launched in 2013, the Marco Polo was the largest ship in the world, totalling five city blocks, longer than the height of the Empire State Building. It has a cargo capacity of 16,022 TEU.
The arrival of these ships is the result of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's (PANYNJ) US$1.7 billion Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Programme, known as "Raise the Roadway." The project increased the air draft of the bridge to 215 feet above the Kill Van Kull. The former height of 151 feet limited access to vessels with a maximum capacity of 9,800 TEU.
That project and others such as the Harbour Deepening Programme, which created a 50-foot shipping channel, have readied the Port of New York and New Jersey to welcome the next generation of container vessels. Larger ships make the transportation of goods more economical while contributing to local, regional, and national growth.
According to the PANYNJ, the Marco Polo is carrying a variety of consumer goods for the New York-New Jersey region and beyond. The ship will unload up to 5,000 TEU that include clothing, pharmaceuticals, furniture, appliances, holiday decorations, building materials, home fixtures, and food due for distribution to businesses.
"The CMA CGM Marco Polo's arrival at our seaport underscores the Port of New York and New Jersey's ability to serve the ultra-large cargo container ships that increasingly carry the food, supplies and goods needed to sustain millions of residents, support thousands of jobs and keep businesses open," said PANYNJ executive director Rick Cotton.
"The Port Authority's infrastructure improvements, such as the raising of the Bayonne Bridge and the deepening of the navigational channel serving our seaport, have made possible this historic moment. These infrastructure improvements also have helped generate record cargo volumes and enabled our supply lines to remain extraordinarily robust during the pandemic."
"We appreciate the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's intelligent, timely infrastructure improvements that have made it possible for us to bring in larger ships and proactively serve our customers from this key American gateway," said Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM America. "CMA CGM's agile methodology enables us to flex our operations to support the growing needs of our customers. The deployment of the CMA CGM Marco Polo is a direct reflection of that agility and our commitment to deliver the essentials that keep America moving."
Marco Polo docked at the Port of Virginia on May 23 and will arrive at Port of Savannah on May 26 and Port of Charleston on May 28.