Port of Charleston welcomes largest container ship to date

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July 23, 2011

MSC BRUXELLES entering the Port of Charleston. Photo courtesy Port of Charleston

Charleston, SC – South Carolina welcomed the largest container ship to ever call the Port of Charleston when the MSC BRUXELLES docked at the Wando Welch Terminal on Wednesday.

The 109,000-ton ship is more than 1,100 feet long and 150 feet wide.  It can carry the equivalent of nearly 9,200 twenty-foot long shipping containers and has a maximum depth of 49 feet.

Jim Newsome, President & CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, said this latest record-setting vessel demonstrates what is happening in the shipping industry now and into the future.

“Big ships are here today, and more are coming,” said Newsome.  “Based on the attractive economics, carriers will continue to deploy larger ships in ports with the infrastructure to efficiently handle them.  With deep channels and a $1.3-billion capital plan — including a new terminal — Charleston will continue to strengthen its capabilities to handle big ships.”

Today, Charleston routinely handles post-Panamax ships actually drawing up to 48 feet, with the benefit of the tides.  This year the port expects more than 200 post-Panamax vessels, or ships too big for the existing Panama Canal, and the Corps of Engineers recently started the next phase of a future deepening project.  Even more big ships are expected on the U.S. East Coast following completion of the Panama Canal expansion project in 2014.

The BRUXELLES is operated by Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC), the world’s second-largest container shipping line and a major employer in the Port of Charleston.  The ship is deployed on MSC’s “Golden Gate Service” between the U.S. East Coast and China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

The vessel arrived from Norfolk and sails to Freeport before heading back through the Suez Canal.

Source: SC State Ports Authority

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