Record-breaking cargo ship to call on Savannah port

9:47 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 Business
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This Monday Aug. 28, 2017 image provided by the Port of Virginia shows the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt being unloaded at the Virginia International Gateway in Norfolk, Va. The arrival of the ship breaks the record for largest container ship ever to visit the Port of Virginia and the East Coast. (Keith Lanpher/Port of Virginia via AP)

Savannah is about to get another visit from another record-breaking cargo ship.

On Friday afternoon, the Port of Savannah expects the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt to dock as part of a caravan of ever-larger container vessels that have called on the fast-growing port since the opening of an expanded Panama Canal.

The Roosevelt, longer than a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, set a new record as the largest container ship ever to dock at an East Coast port when the vessel arrived in Virginia earlier this week.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Savannah, Ga.: A pilot craft on the Savannah River guides the Cosco Development, which at the time of its visit in May 2017, was the largest container ship to ever call on an East Coast port. Thursday, May 11, 2017. J. Scott Trubey/strubey@ajc.com

Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, said his crew expects to move more than 5,000 containers on and off the ship, using seven enormous cranes. The seven cranes will be the first time the port has used so many to handle a single vessel, he said..

“The stakes get bigger,” Lynch said.

Biggest ship to ever port on East Coast, visits Savannah

In May, Savannah welcomed the Cosco Development, the first 13,000 TEU or 20-foot equivalent container ship to visit the East Coast. Since that time, Lynch said, the port has welcomed a new Neo-panamax class vessel practically every week.

The Roosevelt carries 14,400 TEUs.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Six Georgia Ports Authority neo-panamax ship-to-shore cranes work the container ship Cosco Development at the Port of Savannah, Friday, May 12, 2017, in Garden City, Ga. At the time, the ship was the largest vessel ever to call on the U.S. East Coast. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News via AP)

The Savannah River is in the process of being deepened to help accommodate larger vessels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ project to deepen the channel from 42 feet to 47 feet is expected to cost nearly $1 billion and take until 2022 to complete.

The state’s logistics industry is a crucial job creator. Freight that is shipped through Savannah often passes through warehouses in metro Atlanta.

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