Photo courtesy of the Port of Long Beach.
The moment has arrived. The largest-ever vessel to visit North America docked itself at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) today, journeying back to the U.S. from Asia after docking at the Port of Los Angeles in December.
The French ship, titled the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, boasts a container capacity of over 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), or 9,000 40-foot boxes, and docked at Pier J at the POLB this morning. The ship, the length of which is roughly equal to the 102-story tall Empire State Building, will remain in Long Beach through Wednesday, February 24, when it departs for Seattle.
“There’s a reason the Port of Long Beach has been named this continent’s best seaport by our business partners in Asia,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “It’s an honor that demonstrates the respect our Port and our workers have earned globally.”
According to a release from the port, longshore workers will move roughly 12,500 TEUs on and off the Benjamin Franklin before it departs the POLB next week.
“Our PCT terminal is just one of our facilities able to accommodate these megaships,” Board of Harbor Commissioners President Lori Ann Guzmán said in a statement. “Preparing for still larger ships, our new LBCT (Long Beach Container Terminal) Middle Harbor terminal opens this spring.”
The Middle Harbor terminal project Guzmán references will provide the “most technologically advanced” terminal in the Western Hemisphere, as it is nearly all-electric and zero emissions.
Ships the size of the Benjamin Franklin, known as “ultra-large container vessels,” have begun operating at Asian and European ports over the years.
“The Port of Long Beach is the most direct route from Asia to U.S. markets,” said POLB CEO Jon Slangerup in a statement. “We are strengthening our value proposition by working with all of our customers and stakeholders to optimize the speed and efficiency of our marine supply chain as we continue building the Port of the Future.”
CMA CGM is the world's third-largest shipping company and was established in 1978. It is based in Marseilles, France and counts a fleet of 470 vessels journeying to 400 ports across the globe, transporting 13 million container units each year.
City News Service contributed to this report.