The largest containership to call at U.S. East Coast ports began its tour in New York Harbor, transiting under the raised Bayonne Bridge that accounts for some of the billions of dollars in port improvements to accommodate the new generation of ultra-large container vessels.

The 1,200’x167’, 15,072-TEU CMA CGM Brazil arrived Sept. 12 at APM Terminals in Elizabeth, N.J., with a Moran Towing tug escort. The Brazil continued on to set vessel size limits at the Port of Virginia on Sept. 15 and Savannah, Ga., Sept. 19, and a stop scheduled for Sept. 20 at Charleston, S.C.

The 2020 Malta-flagged newbuild is one of the latest in the CMA CGM giant’s ULCV fleet, coming three years after the company’s 14,000-TEU ships began calling at U.S. ports.

The CMA CGM Brazil coming into the Port of Savannah Sept. 18, 2020. Corps of Engineers Savannah District photo.

The CMA CGM Brazil coming into the Port of Savannah Sept. 18, 2020. Corps of Engineers Savannah District photo

In September 2017 the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt was the first to pass under the Bayonne Bridge, after the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey spent $1.7 billion to raise the bridge deck from 151’ to 215’ above the Kill Van Kull channel.

That culminated more than 20 years of channel deepening and other improvements the authority saw as critical to maintain the port’s premier position. In the Southeast, Charleston and Savannah port officials are likewise pushing forward to accommodate bigger and deeper-draft vessels.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.