At the Port of Los Angeles, a new age has started with the arrival of the mega-ship CMA-CGM Benjamin Franklin. The mega-ship breaks the record of being the largest container ship to dock at the Port of Los Angeles. Along with the cargo it carries, it also unloads great economic benefits for the local economy, and a new era where seaports must be renovated to keep up with the increasing size of mega-ships.
The Benjamin Franklin was built by CMA CGM, one of the world’s largest shipping container companies. A third larger than the previous ship to hold the record, the CMA-CGM Benjamin Franklin can hold 18,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) or roughly 18,000 standard-sized shipping containers. Approximately 150 people work onboard the ship, making sure everything runs smoothly. The ship is also longer than the height of the Empire State Building, wider than a football field, and is as tall as a 20-story building. Surprisingly, for a megaship of its size, the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin leaves a small carbon footprint on the environment. It emits only 37 grams of carbon dioxide per container per kilometer, meeting carbon emission standards.
With a megaship that big and eco-friendly, the impact it brings to the Port of Los Angeles is very significant. Previously, business at the port had not been very active. The amount of imported goods that megaships are able to hold can boost economic activity. According to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, the appearance of CMA-CGM Benjamin Franklin at the port of Los Angeles will revitalize the port back to its fullest potential, signal that the port is capable of bigger and more technologically advanced things, and transform the world of shipping. This is good news since the port plays a role in the jobs of 148,000 Los Angeles residents and accounts for 40% of incoming goods in the United States.
However, with the emergence of mega ships, comes having to upgrade the port’s infrastructure to accommodate them. Without these upgrades, the port could face congestion and cause the unloading of goods to be less efficient. Before the arrival of the CMA-CGM Benjamin Franklin, the port of Los Angeles had to be revamped with a new deeper channel, on-dock rail system, and taller cranes to fit the vast size of the mega-ship. Although the arrival of the CMA-CGM Benjamin Franklin was deemed a success, an issue arose. Shipping containers were stacked only seven rows high instead of ten rows high because the cranes were not tall enough.
Currently, the port of Los Angeles is undergoing $510-million construction at its TraPac terminal to fulfill the large volume of goods that will be coming through by automating the process of entering goods. The construction will consist of upgrades such as expanding and upgrading the container terminal facilities, creating a new main gate and secondary gate, and extending the wharf. The construction is expected to be completed mid-2017.
Does the shipping industry play a significant part in your local city? Have any megaships passed through your local ports where you live? Has your city done anything to ensure the megaships pass through smoothly? Share your thoughts and your city’s stories in the comments area below.
Credits: Data linked to sources. Images by Sophia Huynh.