Port of Oakland Receives Largest Container Ship Ever

MSC Anna (file image courtesy Kees Torn)

Published Apr 16, 2020 4:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Thursday, the Port of Oakland expects to receive its largest container ship ever, the 19,000 TEU ULCV MSC Anna. The Anna will join the 18,000 TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin as one of the largest container vessels ever to call in North America. 

The unusual port call is part of MSC's plan to address disruption in ocean freight trading patterns. With multiple blanked sailings between East Asia and the U.S. West Coast, a buildup of empties in Southern California now must be repositioned. According to the Port of Oakland, the 1,300-foot-long vessel is on special assignment to collect a backlog of empty containers in Los Angeles / Long Beach before arriving in Oakland. She is scheduled to spend 24 hours in Oakland discharging import containers and loading exports. 

“We’ve spent years, and millions of dollars keeping ahead of the pace of trade and the size of ships,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan. “We’re ready for the MSC Anna and we’ll welcome her back any time.”

The San Francisco Bar Pilots say that they’ve undertaken extensive planning with the port and with MSC to prepare for the arrival of the MSC Anna. The preparations included computer simulations at Cal Maritime in order to create a better understanding of navigational needs of ULCVs of this class. 

“The San Francisco Bay is one of the most challenging pilotage grounds in the world and safely piloting these huge ships requires expertise and significant training,” Capt. Long said. “The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of the global supply chain to our region’s economy. We are pleased to continue our tradition of safety and service to support this vital part of the infrastructure.”