BiS: BusinessInSavannah.com - Business news for the creative coast.

Largest container ship ever to call on Savannah now due in port Friday

  • The CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt is unloaded Monday at the Virginia International Gateway in Norfolk. The arrival of the ship breaks the record for largest container ship ever to visit the East Coast. (Keith Lanpher/Port of Virginia via AP)

The largest container ship ever to reach the U.S. East Coast docked in Virginia on Monday and will wait out the stormy weather before setting sail for Savannah, where it is now expected Friday.

The French-owned CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Norfolk on Monday from Asia after setting another record as the largest ship ever to sail through the newly expanded Panama Canal.

At 1,200-feet, the vessel is the length of four football fields placed end-to-end and can carry the equivalent of 14,400 20-foot-long cargo containers, or TEUs. That’s nearly 10 percent more than the COSCO Development, a huge ship that was the first to arrive here with a capacity of 10,000 TEUs or more.

The Port of Savannah is one of only four East Coast ports the Roosevelt will visit. After leaving Savannah, it will call on Charleston, then New York/New Jersey, where a four- year, $1.6 billion project to raise the Bayonne Bridge to 215 feet was recently completed, allowing passage of larger ships.

The Roosevelt’s arrival will mark the first time a ship larger than 9,500 TEUs has called on the East Coast’s largest port.

Savannah, however, is becoming accustomed to seeing massive container ships sailing up the river, towering over buildings on their way to Garden City Terminal.

With the arrival of the latest Neopanamx ship Friday, the Port of Savannah will have served 13 vessels with capacities of 13,000-plus TEUs since the first call of the COSCO Development in May.

While it’s in port, the Georgia Ports Authority expects to complete approximately 4,500 container moves on and off the Roosevelt.

As is always the case with these massive ships, it will take the entire maritime community — stevedores, line handlers, river pilots, docking pilots, tugs, longshoremen, crane operators and more — to make sure the Roosevelt docks safely, is worked safely and efficiently and gets back to sea in as short a time window as possible. It’s a complex task, with many moving parts, but one for which the Savannah port is well-known.

Watch savannahnow.com for latest news on the big ship’s arrival time.

Comments