APM Terminals simultaneously docks three ultra-large container ships for the first time at any US port

Establishing a new record for US port operations, three Ultra-Large Container Ships (ULCS) with nominal respective capacities of 13,000 TEUs each, called APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles between February 22nd and March 7th, representing a combined total of 34,465 container moves over the period, including intermodal cargo of 28 double stack trains.

The 13,100 TEU capacity COSCO Harmony, at 367 meters in length and 48 meters wide, operating on COSCO’s South China/US Southwest Coast Express Service (SEA) registered 10,617 container moves. Two Mediterranean Shipping Company vessels, the 12,991 TEU capacity MSC Flavia, at 365.75 meters long and 48 meters wide, and the 13,119 TEU capacity MSC Renee, 366.45 meters long and 48.2 meters wide, were also alongside at the quay, accounting for 12,402 and 11,446 moves, respectively. The MSC Renee and MSC Flavia both operate as part of the 2M alliance between Mediterranean Shipping and Maersk Line on the Far East/US West Coast trade lane.

“Our facility handled the first 13,000 TEU vessel to call the port of Los Angeles last summer, and now with three calling at once we have shown that we are more than able to keep pace with the changes in our industry, and the needs of our shipping line customers” said APM Terminals Pier 400, Managing Director, Steven Trombley.

At 484 acres, APM Terminals Pier 400, which opened in 2002, is the largest single proprietary terminal in the world. The 40-acre on-dock rail facility and five miles of working track can accommodate four double stack trains simultaneously. The three ULCS container movements included cargo loading for 13 double stack trains from the MSC Renee, nine from the MSC Flavia and six from the COSCO Harmony. Intermodal container rail traffic for inland US destinations is a major component of US West Coast containerized cargo volumes.

Throughput at APM Terminals Pier 400 was 2.19 million TEUs in 2014, ranking 2nd in the JOC productivity study Americas designation at 96 MPH with a vessel alongside. In June 2014, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved an APM Terminals proposal to raise the facility’s 14 cranes by 32 feet to 304 feet, and extend the booms by 10 feet to 376 feet to accommodate anticipated ULCS traffic. The project is expected to be completed by 2016.

In March of 2012 the MSC Fabiola, at 12,562 TEU capacity, became the largest containership to call an American port when it arrived at the Port of Long Beach. In June of 2014, the record was eclipsed by the 13,000 TEU COSCO Development, which called APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles. As ULCS’ of up to 19,224 TEU capacity are introduced into the Asia/Europe trade, the large vessels previously deployed in those services are being cascaded into the trans-Pacific Asia/USA trade. At present, there are 265 ULCS of 10,000 TEU capacity or larger in service, with another 137 on order.

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