Shipping Service: Long Beach
The largest container ship ever to dock at a North American seaport returned to Southern California last week. The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin officially entered service for the first time on Friday, February 19, at the Port of Long Beach following an inauguration ceremony hosted by French shipping line CMA CGM and attended by elected leaders, port officials and industry executives.
The Benjamin Franklin, which has a container capacity of 18,000 TEUs or 9,000 40-foot-long boxes, arrived Thursday morning at Pier J’s Pacific Container Terminal. Longshore workers were expected to move about 12,500 cargo containers on and off the Benjamin Franklin before it leaves the Port of Long Beach on February 24. That is two-and-a-half times the 5,000 containers that Long Beach terminals typically move during the call of an average-size vessel.
Long Beach was one in a series of trial port calls directed by CMA CGM Chairman Jacques R. Saadé to prepare U.S. ports to accommodate larger vessels. On an earlier voyage CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin called Los Angeles and Oakland. After Long Beach, it is scheduled to call Oakland and Seattle.
In his speech at the Long Beach ceremony, Mr. R. Saadé said: "We look forward to developing the shipping business between the United States, the Far East and Europe. We are confident that U.S. ports will continue to upgrade their infrastructure, and we are willing to accompany these improvements. The United States will progressively have bigger ships to serve its markets. By bringing the largest container vessel ever to U.S. shores, we are confirming our willingness to strengthen our presence in the United States."
CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin shown berthed at Pacific Container Terminal in the Port of Long Beach
Photo/Port of Long Beach