APM Terminals Port Elizabeth welcomed the 8,700 TEU capacity CMA CGM Bianca, marking the first call of the weekly Ocean Alliance US East Coast Loop 3 Service, providing direct service to the US East Coast from ports in China and Southeast Asia. After a formal welcoming ceremony held at the facility, APM Terminals Port Elizabeth hosted a reception for senior executives of Ocean Alliance member lines to commemorate the occasion. The CMA CGM Bianca arrived and departed on schedule with a berth productivity of 129.2 moves per hour (MPH) for the 4,393 container moves at the terminal, for 30.1 gross MPH, and average dwell for rail-destined containers of less than one day.
Until recently, container ships calling the Port of New York & New Jersey were mainly of the 5,000-8,000 TEU size class. The Port of NY/NJ is the second-busiest container port complex in North America after LA/Long Beach, with a combined annual throughput of 6.25 million TEUs in 2016. The current record for the largest vessel call at APM Terminals Port Elizabeth is 9,600 TEUs. Vessels of up to 14,000 TEU capacity, however, can now transit the widened Panama Canal locks, linking US East facilities such as APM Terminals Port Elizabeth with the Far East.
The 350 acre APM Terminals Port Elizabeth facility, with an annual capacity of 2.3 million TEUs, is now undergoing a $200 million infrastructure investment program to prepare for the increase in ultra-large container ships into the global fleet and the US trade lanes. Larger ship calls to the Port of New York/New Jersey’s Newark Bay terminals have been made possible by the raising of the Bayonne Bridge on the channel into Newark Bay.
The roadbed of the Bayonne Bridge, linking New Jersey with Staten Island, and originally completed in 1932, has now been raised to a height of 215 feet (65.5 meters), 64 feet (19.5 meters) above the bridge’s original 151 foot (46 meter) vessel passage clearance. This will permit ships of up to 18,000 TEU capacity to enter Newark Bay, including the APM Terminals Port Elizabeth terminal, as of June 30, 2017. The channels of New York and Newark bay have also been deepened to 50 feet (15.2 meters) to accommodate the larger vessels.
As part of the infrastructure investment program, APM Terminals Port Elizabeth will be equipped with eight super Post-Panamax cranes (4 x 23-container wide reach, 4 x 21- container wide reach) and six Post-Panamax cranes with an 18-container wide reach, along with 24 inbound gates and 16 outbound gates to optimize truck traffic through the terminal. Gate and yard technology will feature optical character recognition, radio frequency identification, global positioning systems, closed circuit television and weigh-in-motion scales.
APM Terminals Port Elizabeth handled 1.33 million TEUs in 2016, or approximately 21% of the port’s total container throughput.