The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin became the largest container ship ever to call at a North American port when it docked at APM Terminals (APMT’s) Pier 400 Los Angeles on December 26, 2015.
At 399.2 metres in length, and 54 metres wide, the Ultra-Large Container Ship (ULCS) is 18.2 metres longer than the Empire State Building is tall, and 17 feet wider than a US football field; the ship’s bridge is also as tall as a 20 story building.
Jeff De Best, COO of APMT, said: “This is a very important milestone for American port operations and we are proud to be a part of it. We need to continue working with all of the stakeholders to ensure US ports are capable of handling the latest generation of larger container ships now entering service around the world.”
A total of 11,200 containers were handled during 56 hours of operations at Pier 400, the world’s largest proprietary container terminal.
Steven Trombley, Managing Director of the terminal, said: “Our operations team has been working eight cranes on a single vessel for more than a decade so we were confident of our core competencies.
“When CMA CGM presented us with the opportunity to stevedore their 18,000 TEU Benjamin Franklin, we were able to reflect on our past terminal operations experiences, review our best practices for safety and productivity, and then apply these skill sets to stevedore this megaship.
(Source: CMA CGM)
“Our goal was to test our capabilities, our management team, the ILWU labour, and the port’s infrastructure to prove that APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles was indeed, big ship ready.”
APMT’s Pier 400 terminal has been at the forefront of America’s advancement of port accommodation of ULCS, a category of vessels of over 10,000 TEU capacity, most of which are deployed on the Far East/Europe trade lane, transiting the Suez Canal and proceeding to European ports through the Mediterranean Sea.
There are at present 200 ULCS in service in the world’s container ship fleet, with the largest capable of carrying over 19,224 TEU.
APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles welcomed the previous record holder for largest vessel call at a US port in June 2014, with the arrival of the 13,000 TEU COSCO Development, operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine Shipping.
Fact File: APMT’s Pier 400 was ranked first in productivity for North American ports in 2014 in the Journal of Commerce’s annual productivity report, with 92 crane moves per hour with a vessel alongside. The terminal has a total area of 507 acres, with a 442 acre container yard, an on-dock rail facility of 41 acres with an additional 24 acres of on-dock rail storage tracks. The facility is the busiest of the five APMT operations in the US, with a total of over two million TEU handled annually at the Los Angeles terminal alone. APM Terminals’ US port operations also include Tacoma, Washington; Port Elizabeth, New Jersey; Miami, Florida; and Mobile, Alabama.
Fact File: CMA CGM, based in Marseilles, France, is the world’s third-largest container ship line by capacity, with a fleet of 470 container ships carrying an estimated 13 million TEU in 2015.