On June 14, PortMiami welcomed the 10,000 TEU container ship Maersk Shanghai, the largest vessel of the kind to ever call at a Florida port. The Shanghai is part of Maerk’s TP11 Service from East Asia westward to the U.S. East Coast via the Suez Canal. The service calls at Newark, Norfolk, Savannah, Charleston and Miami.
“[This] is a milestone for PortMiami as it also makes history by being the largest cargo container ship ever to visit a Florida port,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “Bigger ships represent the movement of more goods in and out of the port, which translates to growth and prosperity for our economy.”
PortMiami Director and CEO Juan M. Kuryla emphasized that the Shanghai’s arrival was predicated on the controversial “Deep Dredge” project, which took the port’s harbor and approaches from 44 feet down to 50-52 feet. The project drew fire from environmental activists last year after researchers found that sediments from dredging activity had affected an area of coral reefs about 14 times larger than expected.
“PortMiami has made tremendous investments in infrastructure improvements to solidify its position as a world class Global Gateway,” Kuryla said. “Today we’re the only full-service port on the East Coast of the U.S. south of Virginia with a channel depth of -50/-52 feet able to handle the larger Super-Post-Panamax ships.”
PortMiami’s competitors are not far behind: JAXPORT, the port of Jacksonville, Florida, is close to launching an extensive harbor-deepening project, and Port Everglades is working with the Corps of Engineers on a similar undertaking that could begin as early as 2019.
PortMiami CEO Juan M. Kuryla discusses the arrival of the Shanghai (El Nuevo Herald, in Spanish)