The largest container ship to visit the U.S. West Coast is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Los Angeles on December 26.
The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, which was launched on December 10 is scheduled to make her maiden call at APM Terminals-Pier 400 at the Port of Los Angeles. The ship has a capacity of nearly 18,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), which is about a third larger than the biggest container ships that currently call at the San Pedro Bay port complex.
“We were just welcoming a generation of 13,000 TEU vessels earlier this year, and now we are seeing one 28 percent bigger,” said Philip Sanfield, a spokesman for the port.
The largest of the cargo ships that currently visit the port can hold up to 14,000 20-foot containers laden with goods from faraway ports. Most ships of the Franklin’s class work the Asia-to-Europe routes, but trans-Pacific routes hold an allure for shipping lines.
Port officials expect the to test its berthing, docking and unloading capacities during its maiden voyage.
After its launch from a Chinese shipyard last month, line owners expect to schedule regular service between California, China and South Korea. According to the container shipping company CMA CGM, the Benjamin Franklin will be deployed on the Pearl River Express, which connects ports in China to the West Coast.
California’s third largest container gateway – the Port of Oakland – is also celebrating the arrival of the Benjamin Franklin, although it will not be fully loaded by the time it arrives at this destination, it makes viable case that other mega vessels will soon be making scheduled calls.
“Nothing this big has ever been seen in our country,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle said in a statement.