South Carolina Ports will soon welcome the largest container ship to ever call the East Coast — the CMA CGM MARCO POLO. The record-breaking CMA CGM MARCO POLO measures 1,300 feet long and has the capacity to carry 16,022 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). CMA CGM’s record-breaking vessel is working its way down the East Coast, with Charleston as the last U.S. port of call before it heads overseas.
“We look forward to welcoming the largest container ship to ever visit the Port of Charleston. The arrival of the 16,022-TEU CMA CGM MARCO POLO will be a big moment for South Carolina and our excellent maritime community,” SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome said. “SC Ports has long planned for the arrival of such a ship by investing significantly in big-ship infrastructure and cargo capacity, as well as deepening Charleston Harbor. Congratulations to our partner CMA CGM on this impressive deployment. We are all proud to share in this milestone.”
SC Ports has invested $2 billion in infrastructure in recent years, including enhancements to Wando Welch Terminal, to handle bigger ships and more cargo. Ship-to-shore cranes with 155 feet of lift height above the wharf deck stand ready to work the CMA CGM MARCO POLO at Wando Welch Terminal.
The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, slated for full completion in 2022, will enable Charleston to seamlessly handle fully loaded mega container ships at any time, any tide at 52 feet of depth.
“Our efficient operations and deep harbor are designed to handle ships of this size,” SC Ports COO Barbara Melvin said. “The arrival of such a big ship instills great pride in our maritime community and the Charleston community at large. We are excited to see the impressive CMA CGM MARCO POLO sailing through Charleston Harbor.”
The CMA CGM MARCO POLO is operated by the CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics. The vessel is sailing on CMA CGM’s Columbus JAX service, traveling from South Asia to the U.S. East Coast.
The deployment of the CMA CGM MARCO POLO signifies the company’s commitment to creating agile and flexible solutions to meet the needs of its U.S. customer base, as many ports are seeing unprecedented cargo boosts from increasing e-commerce sales and demand for retail goods.
The CMA CGM MARCO POLO will arrive less than one year after the record-breaking 15,072-TEU CMA CGM BRAZIL, which called on SC Ports last September.
“Bigger ships carry more cargo, further supporting port-dependent businesses and jobs throughout South Carolina and beyond,” said SC Ports Board Chairman Bill Stern, noting that port operations support 1 in 10 jobs in the state. “Port infrastructure investments make milestones such as this possible, generating future growth for S.C. communities.”
Sea News, May 25