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MSC Boxship Sets Size Records at Port of New York & New Jersey

largest containership to dock at Port Newark
MSC Virgo =during her maiden arrival at Port Newark (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

Published May 6, 2021 8:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Newark, New Jersey recently received the largest container vessel in its history and the first 15,000 TEU vessel operated by MSC to the U.S. East Coast. The arrival of the new MSC Virgo also tied the record for the largest container vessel to visit the broader Port of New York and New Jersey seaport.

Sailing under the Portuguese flag, the MSC Virgo measures 1,200 feet in length, with a beam of 167 feet and a draft of 47 feet. Built in 2020 by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea, the MSC Virgo is deployed on MSC’s INDUSA service that was introduced in September 2020 to reinforce its offering to the Indian subcontinent. The revised route connects Southeast India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh with the U.S. East Coast.

The addition of the new ship to the route also marked a significant upgrade to capacity on the route. With a capacity of 15,000 TEU, she is the largest vessel on the route with the current average size vessel in the INDUSA service carrying approximately 8,000 TEUs.

The arrival of the MSC Virgo at Port Newark on May 1 also made her the largest vessel operated by MSC to call at the Port of New York and New Jersey. Before the MSC Virgo, the largest containership to call in Port Newark was the 13,100 TEU MSC Cristina on April 14, 2021.    

On a tonnage basis, the MSC Virgo also became the largest containership to arrive in the Port of New York and New Jersey. She measures 158,000 dwt, just slightly exceeding the CMA CGM Brazil, which at 156,900 dwt took the title of largest in September 2020. The two vessels are the same length, but the Brazil has a slightly large capacity at 15,072 TEU.

Officials at the port also highlighted that the arrival of the MSC Virgo showcased the Port of New York and New Jersey’s ability to handle the world’s largest container ships. They noted that the Port Authority has made critical investments over the past few years to expand its capacity to handle large vessels. This includes the Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Program, which increased the air draft of the bridge to 215 feet, and the Harbor Deepening Program, which created a 50-foot-deep shipping channel to accommodate ultra-large container vessels.