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APM Terminals Pier 400 LA sets container-handling record

Equivalent of 34,263 TEUs moved when MSC Isabella called Port of Los Angeles

The MSC Isabella, with a 23,656-TEU capacity, is the largest container ship to call the Port of Los Angeles. (Photo: Port of LA)

APM Terminals Pier 400 handled a record-setting 18,465 container moves from a vessel longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall at the Port of Los Angeles this week.

The container moves, crane lifts to or from a cargo vessel, transferred the equivalent of 34,263 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

“This is a world record. APMT and longshore labor deployed six days’ worth of activities using 12 shifts of skilled labor, with a productivity level of more than 128 berth moves per hour and 30 crane moves per hour — best yet, more to come,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Gene Seroka told the board of harbor commissioners during its regular meeting Thursday.

Seroka said the MSC Isabella, with a capacity of 23,656 TEUs, is the largest container ship ever to call at the Port of LA. This week’s call also was the Isabella’s first visit to a Western Hemisphere container port.

The Isabella is named for the eldest daughter of MSC USA President and CEO Fabio Santucci and is deployed on the Pearl string between Asia and the U.S. West Coast for the 2M Alliance of MSC and Maersk. One of the largest vessels in the world, the Isabella is part of a new class of 23,000-plus-TEU sustainable container ships recently added to the MSC global shipping network.

The Isabella, which APM Terminals said can carry the equivalent of 384 million pairs of shoes, is one of the new, energy-efficient MSC Gulsun-class container ships with low-carbon footprints

Steven Trombley, managing director of APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles, said a collaborative effort among the crew of the MSC Isabella, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Locals 13, 64 and 94, the Pier 400 operations team, and the Port of LA helped “achieve this new milestone.” 

APM Terminals Pier 400 previously set a single-vessel cargo operations record with the call of the 13,600-TEU-capacity Maersk Evora, loading and discharging 24,846 TEUs over a 128-hour period in October 2017.

Pier 400 also was the first container terminal in North America to receive a vessel with an 18,000-TEU capacity when the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin called on Dec. 26, 2015. During that call, 11,200 containers were handled during 56 hours of port operations.

APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles, the largest privately operated container terminal in North America at 484 acres, handled 2.5 million TEUs in 2019.

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Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.