Charleston Hosts Record-Breaking Roosevelt, Inks Harbor Deepening Deal


South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) welcomed the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt on September 14, the biggest ship ever to transit the Panama Canal to call US East Coast ports.

The vessel was hosted on the heels of the first construction contract for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project being awarded by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

“The first dredging contract awarded for harbor deepening is outstanding news for SCPA and the State of South Carolina, and the arrival of the biggest ship ever to call our port this morning (September 14) is a timely and visible example of the importance of the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project,” Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO, said.

“Our harbor will ultimately be the deepest on the East Coast, allowing vessels like the Roosevelt to transit without tidal restriction. Today reaffirms our efforts and investments in terminals and infrastructure to prepare for the big ships being deployed to the East Coast following the Panama Canal expansion and completion of the new Bayonne Bridge.”

Under the USD 47 million construction contract, awarded to initiate dredging work, the entrance channel will be deepened to 54 feet. It is the first of two contracts for entrance channel dredging, which will begin later this year. The main shipping channel will be deepened to 52 feet, offering access to 13,000-14,000 TEU vessels.

The 14,414 TEU Roosevelt arrived in Charleston, where SCPA expects to handle some 3,000 container moves, or 5,200 TEUs, on and off the ship at the Wando Welch Terminal.

The Roosevelt is deployed on the weekly OCEAN Alliance South Atlantic Express (SAX) service connecting Charleston with Hong Kong, Yantian, Ningbo and Shanghai via the Panama Canal.

Previously, the largest ship to call Charleston was the 13,208 TEU OOCL France. Today, eighteen of SCPA’s 24 weekly container vessel services are comprised of ships too large to transit the Panama Canal prior to its expansion.

Image Courtesy: SCPA

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