- The 13,092 TEU COSCO Development, one of the largest containerships currently in existence, called on the Port of Virginia early Monday morning, WAVY.com reported Monday.
- The Development will remain in port for approximately 30 hours while roughly 2,000 containers are loaded and unloaded. Multiple shifts of longshoremen will handle the task.
- The ship is part of an OCEAN Alliance service rotation, traveling from Hong Kong to the U.S. East Coast, stopping in Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina, before returning to China.
"For years, we have been talking about the 'next generation' of vessels and the 'big-ship era," Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart said in an e-mailed press release, "This is what we have been preparing for: the talk is over, the big ships are here."
Indeed, East Coast ports have long been preparing for the arrival of post-Panamax vessels. Reinhart says the Port of Virginia has invested $670 million in expanded capacity projects. Other East Coast ports are not falling behind, either, with similar infrastructure projects happening from Delaware to Georgia. Larger cranes, deepening projects, more storage space and higher bridges are among some of the common changes.
Yet the gargantuan new vessels bring with them a fresh set of issues for ports. Reinhart notes a typical ship is docked for an average of 12-hours, but the COSCO Development will remain at the Port of Virginia for roughly 30 hours. If a port falls behind, or did not prepare for extended berth times, congestion can result — as was recently shown by Shanghai.
Regardless, May 8 marks the start of an era for U.S. ports and the shippers they serve. The excitement was evident at the Development's welcome reception:
Guests at Virginia International Gateway getting the first glimpse of the largest container ship to ever call on the east coast of the US. pic.twitter.com/O3YEfpXSeP— SuffolkVA Econ Dev (@YesSuffolk) May 8, 2017