California Welcomes Cargo Ship Larger than Empire State Building

posted: 12/30/15
by: Danny Clemens
CMA GCM Benjamin Franklin
Scott Varley/AFP/Getty Images

A gargantuan megaship longer than the Empire State Building is now the largest container ship to ever dock in North America.

Capable of carrying 18,000 containers, the CMA GCM Benjamin Franklin moseyed into the Port of Los Angeles over the weekend. According to port officials, the massive vessel is "about a third larger" than the other ships in San Pedro Bay.

She measures in at a staggering 1,300 feet long, 177 feet wide and 197 feet tall -- as tall as a 20-story building.

View a time lapse video of the arrival of the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, the largest cargo ship to ever visit North America.

Posted by Port of Los Angeles on Monday, December 28, 2015

The floating behemoth, which is operated by French shipping line CMA-GCM, is also an energy powerhouse. Its 78-foot engine room is as powerful as 900 compact sedans and capable of producing more thrust than 11 jetliners.

As an added touch of luxury, the vessel also sports its own swimming pool.

Related: Coast Guard Spots Century-Old Shipwreck in Lake Michigan

Despite her impressive statistics, the Benjamin Franklin isn't the largest cargo ship in the world. In fact, she's surprisingly far down on the list, as a lot of the world's high-capacity shipping activity happens outside of the North American market.

Instead, that distinction is held by MCS Oscar, Zoe and Oliver, a trio of mammoth cargo ships operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company. Although they come in approximately 10 feet shorter in length than the Benjamin Franklin, they can carry 1,244 more containers.

North America isn't quite ready for such hefty ships, however, because existing port infrastructure is not designed for such large vessels. Upon arrival in Los Angeles, the Benjamin Franklin was only loaded to 70% capacity, as the port's cranes cannot unload containers stacked any higher.


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