A quarter-mile-long megaship that's the largest cargo ship ever to visit the U.S. is expected to arrive at the Port of Oakland on Thursday morning, port officials said Tuesday.
Longer than an aircraft carrier, the Benjamin Franklin container ship is the largest vessel to ever visit the U.S. Were it tipped vertically, the ship would be taller than the Empire State Building.
The 1,300-foot-long Benjamin Franklin, the 10th largest containership in the world, was launched from a Chinese shipyard last month and arrived at the Port of Los Angeles over the weekend.
"The arrival of this big ship is a good sign," said Michael Zampa, a spokesman for the Port of Oakland. "It's an opportunity for us to continue to grow imports."
It is scheduled to arrive at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Port of Oakland, where it will stay at Berth 24 at the Ports America Outer Harbor Terminal until Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, port officials said.
The Franklin, described as a megaship or ultra large container carrier, can hold up to 18,000 20-foot shipping containers, officials said. The newer ships of this size burn less fuel and emit less exhaust than older, smaller models.
"Nothing this big has ever been seen in our country," Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle said in a statement Monday.
The ship is operated by CMA CGM, a shipping company based in Marseille, France. Shipping company officials said they plan to use the ship in regular service connecting China with the West Coast of the U.S. Oakland is one of only a handful of U.S. ports that can receive megaships, which carry large loads of cargo.