Big ships to U.S. East Coast
Mediterranean Shipping Co. said it will deploy several ships of about 8,000 TEUs in its trans-Suez Golden Gate Service (GGS) between Asia and the U.S. East Coast in coming months, but their use in the service will be temporary.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the ships will set a record for container vessels calling the port.
Allen Clifford, executive vice president for Mediterranean Shipping Co. (USA) Inc., said the company will use three ships of about 8,000 TEUs on the GGS for one round trip voyage each.
The MSC Rita, which American Shipper affiliate ComPair Data says has a capacity of 8,034 TEUs, is scheduled to arrive in New York on Feb. 16 and in Charleston on Feb. 22. MSC just announced last month that it was adding a call to Charleston with the GGS service.
Despite their size, the ships are slated to transit beneath the Bayonne Bridge and call at the Port Newark Container Terminal.
In recent years the port has been looking at ways to modify or replace the Bayonne Bridge because of expectation that bigger ships will have difficulty passing beneath the bridge because of is limited 151-foot airdraft (the distance from the water's surface to the underside of the bridge roadway). That challenge is expected to increase as larger ships transit the Panama Canal after its expansion in 2015.
Clifford said after the three sailings, the MSC Rita and other ships “will be phased back to their initial European strings as the size of 6,750 TEUs that we actually deploy on the GGS are the ideal size on this trade in the actual economical environment. So, the larger vessels are only temporary, at this time.”
The GGS service has a rotation of Shanghai, Ningbo, Chiwan, Yantian, Singapore, Salalah, Suez Canal transit, New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Freeport (Bahamas), Suez Canal transit, Jeddah, Colombo, Singapore, Chiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.