The largest container ship to ever visit the U.S., the1,300-foot-long CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, left the Port of Oakland Monday afternoon around 1:15 p.m. after docking at the port on New Year’s Eve, port officials said.
It stopped at Los Angeles first before arriving in Oakland, and will export agricultural products and other items back to Asia, port officials said. CMA CGM, based in Marseilles, France, expects the Benjamin Franklin to return to Oakland regularly, hauling cargo between China, South Korea and the West Coast.
Receiving an 18,000-TEU capacity vessel for the first time requires long and meticulous preparation to guarantee a flawless call and fluid operations in as little time as possible. For several weeks, the CMA CGM Group has been working with all parties: the Port of Oakland and NWS Seaport Alliance, the San Francisco Bar Pilots, Ports America Outer Harbor, railroads, trucking companies and many others in the maritime supply chain.
As a part of this preparation, CMA CGM, the Port of Oakland and the San Francisco Bar Pilots (SFBP) executed vessel simulations at the California Maritime Academy: seven San Francisco Harbor pilots ran two different simulations in presence of a CMA CGM Senior Captain – one to perfectly handle mooring with such a vessel, the second one was focused on sailing.
Marc Bourdon, President of CMA CGM (America) LLC said, "We are happy to be making this second call at a U.S. port. The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin’s call at the port of Oakland was made possible thanks to a tight collaboration with all stakeholders at the port. By welcoming the largest containership ever to call at U.S. ports, authorities have demonstrated their willingness to be part of an ever growing shipping industry."
The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin embarked for Chinese ports January 4, sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge at approximately 4 p.m. Pacific Time. The ship will return to the U.S. in mid-February.