The Port of Oakland berthed the largest cargo ship to ever visit the U.S. The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, on December 31. The vessel, at 1,310-feet nearly a quarter-mile long, tied up at the Port's Outer Harbor, symbolically opened the Trans-Pacific trade route between Asia and Oakland to megaships.
“This is a milestone for the Port of Oakland and for U.S. trade," said the Port's Maritime Director, John Driscoll. “We'll see more of these big ships before long. This vessel also represents and reinforces the economic partnership between the U.S. and France."
Helicopters, watercraft and scores of photographers accompanied the Franklin as she passed under the Golden Gate Bridge at approximately 9 a.m. and nestled into Port by 10:50 a.m. Longshore workers began loading and unloading cargo containers on Saturday. The new vessel is scheduled to depart Monday, returning to Asia at the conclusion of its maiden voyage.
Until today, megaships carrying 18,000 containers or more have been used exclusively in Asia-Europe trade lanes. Now that the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin has proven workable in Oakland, other megaships will likely follow. They're the most cost-effective, fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vessels afloat, said the port.
“We have been preparing for this for years,” said Driscoll, who rode the pilot boat Drake from San Francisco and boarded the ship just inside the Golden Gate. The port has spent $400 million on dredging and upgrading cranes to handle mega-container ships.
The vessel called at the Port of Los Angeles on Saturday, December 26.
French shipping line CMA-CGM launched the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin on December 10. CMA CGM officials said they're deploying the ship in a regular service connecting China with the U.S. West Coast.
Ship Builder: Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (a CSSC’s subsidiary)
Deadweight Tonnage: 185,000 tons
Year of built: 2015
Building cost: $151 million
Gross Weight Tonnage: 175,000 tons
Net Weight Tonnage: 100,000 tons
Container capacity: 18,000 TEU / 1,100 TEU refrigerated containers (reefers)
Cargo tonnage 240,000 tons
Length: 398 m / 1,305 ft
Breadth (Width): 54 m / 177 ft
Draught (Draft): 16 m / 53 ft
Engines: MAN B&W 11S90ME-C9.2
Fuel consumption – 330 tons per day
Cruising Speed: 25 kn / 29 mph / 47 km/h
Power output: 87,900 hp / 65,500 kW
Crew capacity: 27