2021 May 27 18:56

Port of Savannah serves largest vessel ever, the 16,000+ TEU Marco Polo

The largest container ship to ever serve the U.S. East Coast called on the largest single container facility in North America Wednesday, according to the company's release. As the massive 16,000-TEU vessel docked at the Port of Savannah’s Berth 9, a team of logistics professionals tackled the CMA CGM Marco Polo with seven ship-to-shore cranes and hundreds of men and women on the ground and aboard the vessel to load and unload an estimated 6,000 TEUs of cargo.

With the longest single container terminal dock in the U.S., GPA was scheduled to work five other vessels simultaneous to the CMA CGM Marco Polo on Wednesday.

To expand the Port of Savannah’s ability to serve vessels in the Marco Polo’s class, GPA has started construction to straighten a bend at Berth 1 of Garden City Terminal. This will allow the Port of Savannah to simultaneously serve four 16,000-TEU vessels, as well as three additional ships. Berth 1 renovations will add an estimated 1 million TEUs per year of berth capacity by 2023.

The CMA CGM Marco Polo, built in 2012, is 1,300 feet long – or more than four football fields – and more than 175 feet wide. The vessel is deployed on the AWE3/Columbus service, which connects the U.S. East Coast and Asia via the Suez Canal, with cross-Pacific links to the U.S. West Coast. The AWE3/Columbus service includes 19 vessels ranging in size from 10,000 TEUs to 16,000 TEUs.

In other improvements to better accommodate big ships, the GPA Board approved in November the purchase of eight new ship-to-shore cranes. The new machines will replace six older models, bringing Savannah’s fleet to 38. The eight taller cranes are timed to arrive in 2023, coinciding with the completion of the Berth 1 renovations.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 496,700 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $29 billion in income, $122 billion in revenue and $3.4 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah handled 9.3 percent of total U.S. containerized cargo volume and 10.5 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2020.