CMA CGM Boxship Sets New Size Record for U.S. East Coast

cma cgm brazil
CMA CGM Brazil arrives in New York Harbor (NYPD)

Published Sep 14, 2020 2:00 AM by The Maritime Executive

The container ship CMA CGM Brazil is making her way down the U.S. East Coast, setting regional records with each port call. At 15,072 TEU in capacity and 1,200 feet in length, the vessel would be an everyday sight in Rotterdam or Shanghai, but she is the largest container ship ever to call on North America's Eastern Seaboard. With recent investments in dredging and higher STS cranes, many American container ports are now ready to serve vessels in her size range.

CMA CGM Brazil arrived in Halifax on Thursday, where she became the "largest containerized cargo vessel that has ever called on a Canadian port," Halifax Port Authority spokesman Lane Farguson told CBC. The recent purchase of an extra super-post-Panamax STS crane - bringing the PSA Halifax terminal's total to five - helped facilitate the call. 

The vessel headed next to the Port of New York and New Jersey, where she was received with fanfare. PNYNJ completed its harbor deepening project in 2016, giving it 50 feet of water depth, and it completed the raising of the Bayonne Bridge to lift air draft restrictions in 2018. “The arrival of the CMA CGM Brazil . . . highlights the benefits of [our]  significant investment in critical port infrastructure and the far-reaching effects it has on the broader region and its economy,” PNYNJ said in a statement.

CMA CGM Brazil is headed next to Norfolk, where she is expected to arrive Tuesday, then Savannah on Friday. She will arrive in Charleston, South Carolina on September 20, then head back east to resume her rotation. 

Larger boxships have called at West Coast ports in the past, generally for one-time, special-purpose voyages. The 19,000 TEU MSC Anna set a size record when she arrived in Port of Oakland this April; her arrival was part of a strategy by the 2M Alliance partners to reposition thousands of stranded empty containers out of the Southern California market, and she is not expected to return on a regular rotation.