On December 26, 2015, the Port of Los Angeles was honoured to be the first North American port to welcome the 18,000 TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin on its maiden voyage. If any US gateway is poised to handle a vessel with a capacity much larger than that of the average containership calling today at a major US port, it is the Port of Los Angeles. At the same time, this milestone was a trial run. It provided an excellent opportunity to meet the challenge of servicing an 18,000 TEU capacity vessel well before these ships are put into service in the trans-Pacific trade.
The arrival of the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin was impressive, even for a port accustomed to working 13,000 to 14,000 TEU vessels. Equally impressive was the behind-the-scenes resources deployed to get the job done. This is no small point because physical infrastructure alone is not enough to meet the demands of handling a container vessel this size. Planning and collaboration are essential, and they made this trial run a success…
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