North Carolina Welcomes Largest Ever Vessel


North Carolina Ports has welcomed its first 12,000 TEU container ship, following a call by the ‘Kota Pekarang’ to the Port of Wilmington on April 22, 2019.

The vessel is operated by ZIM in partnership with the 2M Alliance of Maersk and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, a service which connects Wilmington on the US East Coast with Asia.

Ships of this size can now be accommodated by the facility after the arrival of North Carolina Ports’ third neo-Panamax crane, which was delivered in April 2019 as part of a US$200 million capital improvements programme.

Neil Davidson discusses the 'Mega-Alliance Impact' affecting the shipping sector in a recent Port Technology technical paper

This expansion project will give Wilmington the necessary infrastructure for handling 14,000 TEU vessels, the largest ships currently calling ports on the East Coast.

North Carolina’s infrastructure improvements also include a wider turning basin, berth enhancements, new neo-Panamax cranes and an overhaul of Wilmington’s container terminal.

According to a statement, terminal renovations will double the annual throughput capacity of Wilmington to 1.2 million TEU, as well as tripling the port’s reefer capacity to 1,000 plugs.



Paul J. Cozza, Executive Director of North Carolina Ports, said: “This is a monumental milestone for North Carolina Ports and the Port of Wilmington.

“This is proof of concept that we are big ship ready and capable of handling some of the largest container vessels calling East Coast ports today.

“When you consider our investment strategy and couple that with our best-in-class landside and waterside efficiencies, NC Ports is poised to continue to see unprecedented growth and attract more customers to North Carolina’s ports.”

Greg Fennell, North Carolina Ports Chief Commercial Officer, added: “The arrival of a ship of this magnitude to the Port of Wilmington signals to our customers that we are ready and capable of handling their growing business needs.”

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