MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – One of the largest container ships to ever call the east coast will arrive in Charleston on Friday.

With an overall length of 1,300 feet and capacity of 16,022 TEU, the Marco Polo is the largest mega container ship to call SC Ports, according to officials with the South Carolina Ports.

Governor Henry McMaster and Congresswoman Nancy Mace well welcome the ship when it arrives at the Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant around midday.

The vessel is named for the famous explorer known for traveling the Silk Road to China.

“We look forward to welcoming the largest container ship to ever visit the Port of Charleston. The arrival of the 16,022-TEU CMA CGM MARCO POLO will be a big moment for South Carolina and our excellent maritime community,” said SC Ports President and CEO Jim Newsome. “SC Ports has long planned for the arrival of such a ship by investing significantly in big-ship infrastructure and cargo capacity, as well as deepening Charleston Harbor. Congratulations to our partner CMA CGM on this impressive deployment. We are all proud to share in this milestone.”

Charleston will be the last U.S. port of call before it heads overseas.

SC Ports officials say they have invested $2 billion in infrastructure in recent years, including enhancements to Wando Welch Terminal, to handle bigger ships and more cargo.

Ship-to-shore cranes with 155 feet of lift height above the wharf deck stand ready to work the CMA CGM MARCO POLO at Wando Welch Terminal.

The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, which is slated for full completion in 2022, will enable Charleston to seamlessly handle fully loaded mega container ships at any time, any tide at 52 feet of depth.


  • Sullivan’s Island
  • Patriots Point/Hog Island Trail and Observation Deck
  • SC Aquarium
  • Charleston Waterfront Park
  • Ravenel Bridge
  • Mt. Pleasant Shem Creek Park
  • Pitt Street Bridge
  • Charlotte Street Park Irish Memorial
  • Melton Peter Demetre Park
  • Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park

“Our efficient operations and deep harbor are designed to handle ships of this size,” SC Ports COO Barbara Melvin said. “The arrival of such a big ship instills great pride in our maritime community and the Charleston community at large. We are excited to see the impressive CMA CGM MARCO POLO sailing through Charleston Harbor.”

The CMA CGM MARCO POLO is operated by the CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics.

The vessel is sailing on CMA CGM`s Columbus JAX service, traveling from South Asia to the U.S. East Coast.