On Boxing Day, Los Angeles officials welcomed the largest container ship to visit a North American port with a floating press conference.
The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, the Captain of the new ship, members of Congress, City Councillors, President of CMA CGM American operations, Port Director, Terminal Director, Labour leaders and others, as well as journalists, photographers and TV stations all gathered in front of the massive CMA CGM BEN FRANKLIN in a floating press conference, on board the twin hulled TRIUMPHANT at APM Terminal in the port of Los Anegles on December 26th.
The French shipping company’s CMA CGM BEN FRANKLIN had arrived before dawn from Busan, Korea, having been delivered in November. Registered in London, the vessel is 1,300 ft. long, 177 ft. wide and 197 ft. high carrying an 18,000-TEU capacity vessel, and the sixth ship in her class, all built in China. Until now these ULCV (Ultra Large Container Vessels) have been employed exclusively on route from Asia to Northern Europe.
The gigantic vessel is also model for high-energy production. Her 78 ft. length engine room contains a last generation engine as powerful as 900 Ford Focus cars and her 21 knots thrust is equivalent to that of 11 Boeing 747-400 engines (3,000 KNewton).
With a crew of only 27 members, the ship runs its own its waste recycle system, has a chef, and a swimming pool.
Marc Bourdon, president of CMA CGM American operations, said the Marseilles-based company has operated in the US since 1995, and employs more than 900 people. The company is the third largest carrier in the United States as well as globally.
“The question keeps coming back on whether U.S. port infrastructure is actually ready for this size of vessels,” Bourdon said. “Well, they are not exactly quite ready yet. Some ports are ready. The reality is a ship like this will not be able to get deployed on a permanent basis until more ports are ready to accommodate them.”
While the CMA CGM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN arrived in Los Angeles carrying shipping containers stacked seven high, at full capacity the ship is designed to stack 10 containers high. Needed improvements to APM Terminal cranes will allow for the full load by the end of 2016, he said.
The ship will sail on Wednesday for a December 31, Oakland CA visit before returning to Shanghai, China.
Thanks to Phillip Sanfield, Port of Los Angeles and Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti
MARTIN COX - Founder and publisher of MaritimeMatters, inspired by maritime culture and technology growing up in the port of Southampton. He works as a photographer in Los Angeles, and his works has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, New York, London and Iceland. Martin is the co-writer of the book “Hollywood to Honolulu; the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company” published by the Steam Ship Historical Society of America. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum has commissioned artworks and collected his photographs.