SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The largest container ship to ever serve the East Coast of the U.S. called on the Port of Savannah Wednesday.
The Marco Polo is nearly the length of four football fields and can carry 16,000 20-foot-long containers.
“During this inaugural call of the CMA Marco Polo, the port’s cranes will move more than 3,500 hundred containers,” said Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM America.
Aldridge says with a container yard of more than 1,300 acres, the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Garden City Terminal is a hub for global trade.
“Thank you for bringing the Marco Polo to Savannah. We really appreciate it,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch to CMA CGM America.
“People now recognize Savannah as one of the best ports in the world,” he said, “and we want to maintain that status.”
It took hours for the ship to make its way from Tybee Island, up the Savannah River to the Garden City Terminal.
Lynch and Savannah Mayor Van Johnson both got on board for its arrival.
The mayor agrees the Marco Polo’s visit is a sign that “our port is booming.”
“The bottom line is we’ve been building for this moment for years, and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars so we can handle ships like this,” Lynch said.
But because the Savannah harbor deepening project is not complete, the ship wasn’t fully loaded when it arrived in the Hostess City.
The Marco Polo had 6,000 containers for this visit. But many expect Savannah will see the ship again, carrying even more.
“After the dredging is completed this could a thousand more containers on it because we’ll have deeper water,” Lynch said.
WSAV News 3 had several cameras around Savannah and Tybee Island to capture the ship’s arrival:
Check out this timelapse video of Marco Polo’s arrival from WSAV News 3 Photojournalist Chris Murray:
See an aerial view of the cargo ship, courtesy of Snyder Film Productions: