Large Container Ships
The largest container ship to ever call on the US east coast began regular service in May of this year. The COSCO Development has a capacity for 13,092 TEU (Twenty foot container equivalents). Norfolk is one of 4 ports on the East Coast presently capable of handling this size ship. The COSCO Development moves regularly between Asia and the East Coast ports. She was built in 2011 and is classified as an Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV). When she does move through Norfolk port, the Captain of the Port must restrict other container ship traffic in the channel to ensure safe transit in and out of the port.
In June 2016, the Panama Canal opened new locks to enable larger ships to pass thru the canal. The new limitation is approximately 13,000 TEU and the limitation is referred to New Panamax (ship) sizes. The COSCO Development is the largest ship to have passed through the canal.
New ships built over the past year have significantly eclipsed the size of the COSCO Development. The ships sizes are referred to as Post New Panamax (they cannot pass through the Panama Canal). “In May 2017, at Samsung Heavy Industries in Geoje, South Korea, Hong-Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) christened the world’s largest container vessel, the OOCL Hong Kong." The ULCV class OOCL Hong Kong has a carrying capacity of 21,413 TEUs.
“The OOCL Hong Kong measures 399.87 meters in length and 58.8 meters in breadth, ranking it among the largest ULCVs in operation today by dimensions. The OOCL Hong Kong will be serving the Asia-Europe trade lane on the LL1 service with stops in Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Yantian, and Singapore, and via Suez Canal to Felixstowe in Suffolk, UK, Rotterdam, Gdansk, and Wilhelmshaven.” Per Cory Levins, Air-Sea Container Blog, August 3, 2017