VIDEO: CMA CGM giant on record-breaking East Coast tour

Written by Nick Blenkey
CMA CGM Marco Polo with tugboats

CMA CGM sails past Statue of Liberty assisted by Moran tugboats.[Photograph: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey]

The largest containership to ever call North America’s East Coast, the 16,022 TEU CMA CGM Marco Polo, sailed into New York on May 20, setting the second of an expected seven records in 11 days. The first came May 17, when a call in Halifax, Nova Scotia set the Canadian big-ship record. Individual port records will be set by the ship’s calls at the Port of Virginia, Port of Savannah and Port of Charleston.

The CMA CGM Marco Polo is sailing on the company’s Columbus JAX service, traveling from South Asia to the East Coast of America. CMA CGM says the debut of the vessel on the JAX reflects an increase in capacity that signifies the Group’s commitment to creating agile and flexible solutions to meet the needs of its U.S. customer base, many of whom are experiencing unprecedented boosts in e-commerce sales and the resulting increased demand for goods.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says that the historic arrival of the CMA CGM Marco Polo highlights the Port Authority’s various investments in critical regional infrastructure, including the raising of the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge to a navigational clearance of 215 feet and the deepening of the navigational channels to 50 feet. Before the Bayonne’s new roadway was completed in 2017, the bridge’s previous height clearance of 151 feet limited access to cargo vessels with a maximum capacity of 9,800 TEU.

“The shipping container industry started right here in Port Newark in 1956 and since that time the Port Authority has made significant investments in infrastructure—including the raising of the Bayonne Bridge—which has allowed us to welcome ultra-large cargo ships like the Marco Polo to our ports,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “Our ports have never been busier and with our ability to handle more cargo, we are creating greater opportunities for economic growth throughout the region.”

With a length of 396.0 meters (1,299 feet, 3 inches) and beam of 53.6 meters (175 feet, 10 inches) the CMA CGM was the world’s largest containership when it entered service in 2012. The current holder of that title, HMM Algeciras has a capacity of 23,964 TEU and measures 399.9 meters (1,312 feet) long with a beam of 61.0 meters (200.1 feet).

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