The 14,400 TEU CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt has become the biggest container ship to visit the US East Coast after surpassing the short-lived record set by the OOCL France in June.
On its journey, the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt also became the largest ship to travel through the Panama Canal before reaching the Port of Virginia and breaking its record.
Nearly 3,000 containers are being loaded on and off at the port as part of the Ocean Alliance’s South Atlantic Express (SAX) service provided by CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen Line and OOCL.
In this weekly Asia-to-US East Coast service, there are 11 vessels ranging in size from 11,000 to 14,000 TEUs.
Virginia is the first US port of call on the SAX service, which involves all the Ocean Alliance members contributing ships and sharing space on those vessels.
Port of Virginia aims to invite even larger ships to berth by widening its channels and add five feet of depth.
This would extend its river-floor clearance to 55 feet so it can accommodate two-way ship traffic.
John. F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority, said: “This is a notable step-up in size. In Virginia, the big-ship era started in May and we continue to see larger and larger vessels.
“The $670 million we are investing to expand Virginia International Gateway (VIG) and Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) will enhance our big-ship readiness and our ability to safely and efficiently handle their increasing cargo loads.
“Last week, we ordered four new ship-to-shore cranes for VIG and they will be the largest ever delivered to the East Coast. It’s ships like this and those to follow that are driving our expansion.
“This vessel is taking full advantage of our 50-foot channels, but its arrival also highlights our deeper, wider safer effort.
“Every additional foot of draft on a containership represents millions of dollars’ worth of cargo.”
“Our new, $42 million North Gate at NIT is fully operational and by January 2018 it will link directly to I-564 via the I-564 Intermodal Connector, so we are improving service for motor carriers.”