“This ad hoc call helps ensure that the Miami Port is ready and has all infrastructure needed to welcome this size of vessel, which will become the new minimum standard once the Panama Canal enlargement is completed in 2014” explained Jean-Philippe Thenoz, vice-president North America Lines at CMA CGM.
The average containership currently operating out of Miami is 4,500 teu, as these larger post-Panamax ships require deeper water than the draught at most US East Coast Ports.
“It’s all about increasing the Port of Miami’s cargo business and infusing millions of dollars into the local economy with the potential to create thousands of new jobs,” said Port of Miami director, Bill Johnson.
“The arrival of the ‘CMA CGM Don Carlos’ not only made history for the Port but it is the largest containership ever to visit a Florida port.”
Johnson continued by saying that the ship’s arrival illustrated the “critical need” for the Port of Miami to dredge its waters to 15 metres (-50 feet) from its current 12.7 m (-42 feet) depth.
“If we are to be a player in the global market place we need the deep dredge prior to completion of the Panama Canal expansion,” he explained.
The Port of Miami is currently seeking US$75m in federal funding to move the project forward. The Army Corp of Engineers is expected to complete preliminary design and engineering work for the project next summer.
The ‘CMA CGM Don Carlos’ is on a routing that includes stops in Japan, China and South East Asia to the United States East Coast via the Suez Canal, and South East Asia, China and Korea to Pacific North West and Canada (Vancouver).