The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Global Container Terminals USA will welcome the MOL Benefactor — the largest container ship ever to call on the Port of New York and New Jersey at Global Container Terminal Bayonne — during its maiden visit at noon on Friday.
The MOL Benefactor will be the first ship visit to an East Coast port after passing through the expanded Panama Canal locks that opened on June 26. The new canal allows ships as large as 14,000 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, to call the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The building of these megaships is said to be a cost-saving and more efficient way of transporting goods, particularly from Asia to the U.S. East Coast. This would ease overcrowding at West Coast ports, and allow more direct routes to places such as New York, for goods such as apparel and textiles.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., which owns the MOL Benefactor, noted that the newly built 10,000 TEU container ship successfully passed through the expanded Panama Canal on July 1 Friday, the first neo-Panamax container ship to do so. It is also the first neo-Panamax vessel deployed on the G6 Alliance’s new NYX service.
The NYX provides a direct link between Chinese ports of Qingdao, Ningbo and Shanghai, and South Korea’s Busan with New York; Norfolk, Va., and Savannah, Ga. on the U.S. East Coast and also provides connections with Latin America via Manzanillo, Panama.
The expansion program was the Panama Canal’s largest enhancement project in its 100-year history. Construction on the $5.25 billion project began in 2007. It included the construction of a new set of locks on the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the waterway and the excavation of more than 150 million cubic meters of material, creating a second lane of traffic and doubling the cargo capacity of the waterway.
In 2015, the original canal set a tonnage record, transiting 250.6 tons. It continues to operate, transiting Panamax-sized vessels or smaller. While the Expansion’s locks are 70 feet wider and 18 feet deeper than those in the original canal, they use less water due to water-savings basins that recycle 60 percent of the water used per transit.