The Philadelphia Port community is buzzing with excitement as the largest vessel to ever call the Port was welcomed at PhilaPort’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal (PAMT). The M/V CMA CGM Marco Polo, spanning 1,300 feet and boasting a capacity of 16,020 containers, arrived today at noon welcomed by a water canon shower by the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Marine Unit. The owners of the vessel are the French shipping company, CMA CGM, the third largest shipping company in the world. CMA CGM’S “NAMEX” service originates in Yantian, China, continuing through Vietnam, Malaysia, Siri Lanka, and Morocco, before heading to the U.S. East Coast.

“This vessel is the manifestation of years of hard work preparing for this newer class of vessels,” said Jeff Theobald, Executive Director and CEO of PhilaPort. “It has always been our goal to be able to handle these vessels which have become the workhorse of maritime trade around the world”.

Comparing the vessel size relative to Philadelphia, the Marco Polo is:

• 180-feet longer than Philadelphia’s tallest building, the Comcast Technology Center is tall. (1,120 feet)

• The length would span 2.6 Philadelphia city blocks.

• Is longer than four football fields.

Celebrating the arrival of the largest ship ever to call The Port of Philadelphia, the captain of the 16,000 TEU CMA CGM Marco Polo is flanked by (right) PhilaPort CEO Jeff Theobald and (left) Holt Logistics’ Leo Holt. Also pictured are representatives from the Pilot’s Association for the Bay and River Delaware, Holt Logistics, Conrail, and PhilaPort.

This class of vessel takes advantage of economies of scale. The cost of shipping containers on this ship is more economical, the larger vessels have better fuel efficiency “We are thrilled to finally bring a vessel of this size up the Delaware River,” said Captain David Cuff, President of the Pilots Association of the Bay, and River Delaware. “We always knew that we could pilot this size of ship up the Delaware River – safety was and is the highest priority. To be sure it could transit safely, a dozen of our most experienced pilots spent valuable hours training in the simulator at MITAGS (Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies).

The cargo being transported by vessel to the port consists of fruit & vegetables, such as clementines from Morocco. Typically, food products valued at over $5 billion move up the Delaware River per year.

“This vessel’s arrival in Philadelphia will be noticed by shippers and shipping executives all over the world,” said Eric Holt, Chief Commercial Officer of Holt Logistics. “It represents the next great chapter of the Port.”