Image Courtesy: Port of Virginia
The Port of Virginia welcomed on May 8 COSCO Development, the largest containership to call this port and the US East Coast.
The 13,092 TEU boxship breaks the previous record held by the 10,000 MOL Benefactor when it sailed to Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) last summer.
“We’ve seen nothing like her here. For years, we have been talking about the ‘next generation’ of vessels and the ‘big-ship era’. This is what we have been preparing for: the talk is over, the big ships are here,” John. F. Reinhart, CEO and Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority, said.
Built by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in 2011, COSCO Development features a length of 366 meters and a width of 48.2 meters.
The containership is part of the Ocean Alliance’s South Atlantic Express service and it came to the Port of Virginia via the Panama Canal.
Early Monday morning, tugboats eased COSCO Development alongside at Virginia International Gateway (VIG). Soon after, the process of loading and unloading began. During the course of the ship’s 30-plus hour stay in Virginia, multiple labor shifts load and unload nearly 2,000 containers.
“What’s truly significant is that Virginia is this vessel’s first East Coast stop. This vessel is taking full advantage of our 50-foot channels and an expanded Panama Canal,” Reinhart commented, adding that the port will be seeing vessels of this size with regularity.
Reinhart further said the growing vessels sizes and accompanying cargo volumes are behind the port’s USD 670 million investment to increase overall annual throughput capacity by 40 percent – 1 million containers – by 2020. Presently, heavy construction is underway at VIG and the civil engineering work is nearing its start at NIT.