Posted on October 20, 2015 · Posted in Industrial / Flex, Retail

Port Everglades this week is hosting its biggest-ever cargo ship for containerized.

The Broward County seaport on Sunday welcomed the MSC Maria Elena, which is 107,849 gross tons, more than 1,104 feet long and capable of carrying 9,178 shipping containers, each 20 feet long.

The freighter is bigger than a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, port officials said. The cargo ship from Mediterranean Shipping Co. arrived only partly full, however, because the Fort Lauderdale port is still too shallow and narrow to welcome mega-freighters filled to capacity, said spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy.

“This underscores that we need deeper and wider channels to hold the bigger ships,” said Kennedy, pointing to the growing volume of mega-ships set to cross an expanded Panama Canal next year.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this year gave approvals for Port Everglades to dredge to 48 feet deep and to widen its channel — a venture nearly two decades in the making. The roughly $380 million project still needs funding from Congress, but now it is in the design stage.

Already, the seaport ranks No 1 for containerized cargo in Florida, focusing its trade on North-South links with Latin America. It handled the equivalent of more than 1 million 20-foot-long containers in the year ended Sept. 30, 2014, up 8 percent from a year earlier, according to the latest fiscal-year data.

The MSC Maria Elena arrived in Port Everglades from Savannah , Ga., and is heading out as soon as Monday to Freeport in the Bahamas.

“It can maneuver in and out easily this week, because the seaport is not too busy with cruise ships those days,” Kennedy said. “On a busy cruise day, that cargo ship can’t pass a cruise ship in the channel so it would need to anchor out or wait at a dock for a cruise to leave. You can see where there’s a need to dredge.”

 

Source: SunSentinel

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