Port Tampa Bay Welcomes its Largest Container Ship Ever
Port Tampa Bay in the U.S. welcomed its largest container ship to date when the CMA CGM Dalila called at the Ports America Terminal on Thursday.
The visit marks the start of CMA CGM's weekly direct ocean carrier service between Asia and Port Tampa Bay using vessels of 8,500 to 9,500 TEUs capacity.
Port Tampa Bay's position on the eastern Gulf coast complements PEX3 port calls at the western and central Gulf ports of Houston, New Orleans and Mobile. By passing through the Panama Canal, the service has the advantages of the all-water route between Asia and the Gulf. The PEX3 port service rotation includes Singapore, Vung Tau, Hong Kong, Shekou, Ningbo, Shanghai, Busan, Panama Canal transit, Houston, Mobile, New Orleans, Tampa, Miami and Singapore.
The new CMA CGM service will provide a new route linking critical Asian markets to Florida's fastest growing region and largest consumer market: the I-4 corridor, and the CMA CGM Dalila's inaugural call will also be the first ever direct connection between the booming Vietnam market and Central Florida.
Home to almost half the state's growing population of nearly 22 million residents, the I-4 corridor has the largest concentration of distribution centers in Florida. The exponential growth of online shopping and e-commerce has also driven the creation of warehouses near urban clusters. Companies like Amalie Oil and Rooms to Go no longer need to truck their products into Tampa Bay from distant and more congested ports. Additionally, the I-4 corridor has been transformed into a highly competitive region for commercial real estate brokers searching for property to build new distribution centers and manufacturing facilities to serve customers in Florida and the Southeast.
The port says that CMA CGM's excellent transit times will significantly improve the competitiveness of the region's importers and exporters. The key to Port Tampa Bay's success in attracting this new service resulted from the Port's acquisition of new post-Panamax container gantry cranes in the summer of 2016, which coincided with the expansion of the Panama Canal.
Together with container terminal operator partner Ports America, Port Tampa Bay is continuing to expand and upgrade facilities, having recently added two new post-Panamax cranes to complement its existing three gantry cranes and implementing a phased build-out plan to quadruple capacity over the next few years as business continues to grow. The Port is also investing in new facilities to continue to diversify its service offerings and cargo mix, which includes a new on-dock cold storage warehouse recently opened by Port Logistics Refrigerated Services.
The CMA CGM Group calls at 18 ports on all Gulf, East and West Coasts and offers 34 weekly services to connect U.S. commerce worldwide. With a presence in 160 countries and a fleet of 511 vessels, CMA CGM serves over 420 ports. CMA CGM is also a member of the Ocean Alliance.