By Lenis Rodrigues, Media Relations Staff
Less than two decades ago, the Regina Maersk made a much-heralded visit to the Port of New York and New Jersey, amid fountains of water sprayed from a fireboat and an armada of ships leading the biggest ship to ever call on an East Coast port to the dock.
The 1998 visit was trumpeted as a game-changer for global trade and for the future of the East Coast’s largest cargo port. When it docked at the Elizabeth Port Authority Main Terminal, the Regina Maersk had a capacity of 6,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units).
This morning, the T. Roosevelt arrived with the same fanfare as the Regina Maersk – water cannons shot from fireboats and a fleet of smaller vessels to welcome it to port. But the T. Roosevelt, named for the nation’s 26th president, has a capacity of 14,400 TEUs – more than 2 ½ times the cargo capacity of the Regina Maersk, whose hull was as long as the Chrysler Building. The T. Roosevelt, by contrast, is four football fields long.
The ship’s call would not have been possible without the Port Authority’s recently completed project to raise the Bayonne Bridge to provide a navigational clearance of 215 feet. When the Regina Maersk came to town, the vessel had to lower its mast and radio antennae to sneak under the bridge’s roadway and its 151-foot clearance.
Though a much bigger vessel, the T. Roosevelt didn’t have to lower anything to get under the crossing. The ship would not have been able to make its historic maiden voyage had it not been for the widening of the Panama Canal and the 50-foot harbor deepening project, both completed in 2016.
For a glimpse of the big ship passing beneath the restructured Bayonne Bridge:
“We’re thrilled to have CMA CGM T. Roosevelt call at our port and serve as the celebratory vessel for the raising of the Bayonne Bridge,” said Port Authority Port Director Molly Campbell. “We invested billions of dollars to raise the Bayonne Bridge, deepen harbor channels, install rail facilities at all of our terminals and improve our port road network, with the goal of attracting the world’s biggest ships and cargo to our port and the jobs and economic activity they provide.”
While today’s visit was more about celebration and less about cargo movement, the ship and its sister vessels are expected to soon be frequent visitors to the Port of New York and New Jersey.
During the event, Marc Bourdin, the president of CMA CMG (USA), announced that the T. Roosevelt and other similar-sized ships will be making regular calls to the port beginning next month.