On August 22, CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt set a record for being the largest ship ever to cross the Panama Canal. Now, after inaugurating the Bayonne Bridge in New York on September 7, she has arrived in South Carolina.
The CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt commenced operation in July, one of a series of six CMA CGM ships named after U.S. Presidents. She has a capacity of 14,414 TEUs and a length of 1,200 feet, four times longer than the Statue of Liberty.
South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) welcomed the vessel on September 14. The port is expected to handle approximately 3,000 container moves, or 5,200 TEUs, on and off the ship at the Wando Welch Terminal.
Her arrival coincides with first construction contract for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project being awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO, said the harbor will ultimately be the deepest on the East Coast, allowing vessels like the Roosevelt to transit without tidal restriction. “Today reaffirms our efforts and investments in terminals and infrastructure to prepare for the big ships being deployed to the East Coast following the Panama Canal expansion and completion of the new Bayonne Bridge."
The $47 million construction contract was awarded to initiate dredging work on the entrance channel, which will be deepened to 54 feet. It is the first of two contracts to be let for entrance channel dredging, which will begin later this year. The main shipping channel will be deepened to 52 feet, offering unfettered access to 13,000-14,000 TEU vessels.
The Roosevelt is deployed on the weekly OCEAN Alliance South Atlantic Express (SAX) service connecting the East Coast with Hong Kong, Yantian, Ningbo and Shanghai via the Panama Canal.
Previously, the largest ship to call South Carolina Charleston port was the 13,208 TEU OOCL France. Now, 18 of SCPA's 24 weekly container vessel services are comprised of ships too large to transit the Panama Canal prior to its expansion.
In addition to the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, the Port has been preparing for the deployment of New Panamax vessels to the East Coast with significant upgrades to terminal infrastructure and equipment. A wharf strengthening and modernization project at the Wando Welch Terminal will be completed in the spring of 2018, and the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, the only new permitted container terminal on the East or Gulf Coast, will open in June of 2020.
The Roosevelt's visit to the Port of New York and New Jersey was made possible by the June completion of the Port Authority’s $1.6 billion Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Project, which raised the clearance under the crossing from 151 feet to 215 feet, the same height as the nearby Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Prior to the project’s completion, the maximum vessel size that could fit under the bridge was approximately 9,400 TEUs. The port is now able to handle ships as large as 18,000 TEUs.
The’s ship call comes as the Port of New York and New Jersey is experiencing record cargo volume growth. During the first six months of 2017, cargo volume rose 4.4 percent compared to the former six-month record set in 2015.
The CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt was named for Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, who was born in New York, was governor of the state and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.