Photos: COSCO Development Makes History as Biggest Ship to Visit U.S. East Coast

Mike Schuler
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May 15, 2017

The MV COSCO Development arrives in Charleston Harbor, Saturday, May 13, 2017. Photo: South Carolina Ports

The 13,000 TEU containership COSCO Development has completed its inaugural visit to the U.S. East Coast underscoring the arrival of the ‘big ship era’ following the opening of the Panama Canal Expansion.

The MV COSCO Development made history as the largest ship to ever visit the east coast of the United States when it called at ports of Virginia, Savannah, and Charleston over the past week after sailing from China via the Panama Canal. The vessel, which measures 1,200 feet long and 158 feet wide, can transport up to 13,092 TEUs.

COSCO Development made its first U.S. East Coast port visit on May 8 at the port of Virginia.

COSCO Development made its first U.S. port visit on May 8, arriving at the Virginia International Gateway terminal at the port of Virginia, which was followed by Savannah, Georgia on May 11 and Charleston, South Carolina on May 13. As of Sunday, the vessel was back underway to Hong Kong.

Earlier this month the ship also set the record as the largest ship to ever use the Panama Canal

The COSCO Development is deployed on the new OCEAN Alliance’s weekly South Atlantic Express (SAX) service connecting Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina with Hong Kong, Yantian, Ningbo and Shanghai via the Panama Canal. The SAX service is comprised of 11 vessels ranging in size from 11,000 to 13,000 TEUs.

cosco development visits savannah
COSCO Development passes River Street in downtown Savannah, Georgia on May 11, 2017. Photo: Georgia Ports Authority/Stephen Morton Photography

Ports along the U.S. east coast have had record container volumes since the opening of the Panama Canal Expansion in June 2016 thanks in part to the investments made to accommodate the larger ships coming through the Panama Canal.

“We’ve seen nothing like her here,” said John. F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “For years, we have been talking about the ‘next generation’ of vessels and the ‘big-ship era’. This is what we have been preparing for: the talk is over, the big ships are here.”

The OCEAN Alliance includes China COSCO Shipping, Orient Overseas Container Lines (OOCL), CMA CGM Group and Evergreen.

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