The Port Authority today(7th September) welcomed CMA CGM’s 14,414 TEU cargo vessel T. Roosevelt to the Port of New York and New Jersey – the largest ship ever to call on any East Coast port – underscoring the port’s position as the East Coast’s largest, and its strategic role in global trade, and a primary regional source of jobs and economic activity.
Today’s visit by one of the world’s largest, environmentally friendly vessels was made possible by the June completion of the Port Authority’s $1.6 billion Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Project, which raised the clearance under the crossing from 151 feet to 215 feet, the same height as the nearby Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Prior to the project’s completion, the maximum vessel size that could fit under the bridge was approximately 9,400 TEUs. The port is now able to handle ships as large as 18,000 TEUs.
To put the size of the T. Roosevelt into perspective, it is four times bigger than the Statue of Liberty and four times longer than an American football field. It was named for Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, who was born in New York, was governor of the state and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
To mark this major milestone in the port’s history, the T. Roosevelt was escorted from the Atlantic Ocean into port channels shortly after dawn by a fleet of smaller vessels to herald its arrival. The vessel later docked at the APM Terminal in Elizabeth. Only days earlier, the ship became the largest ever to head through the newly expanded Panama Canal on its way to the East Coast from Asia.
“Today, more than 10 years of planning, foresight and investment by Governor Christie, the Port Authority and its team have made our port big ship ready,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “This agency clearly recognized the importance the port plays in the regional economy and invested billions to raise the Bayonne Bridge, deepen port channels, build on-dock rail infrastructure and enhance port roadways, all to ensure we remain the leading East Coast destination for international shippers.”
“Securing our port’s competitive position as the East Coast’s premier gateway for international shippers and global trade is critically important for this agency, and today is clear evidence of our commitment to operate a world-class maritime business,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton.
“This agency’s investment of billions of dollars in port-related infrastructure including the raising of the Bayonne Bridge, coupled with billions of dollars in investments by private sector terminal operators, is a game changer that will ensure the port builds on the 336,600 regional jobs and tens of billions in economic activity it already supports.”
The T. Roosevelt’s ship call highlights the critical importance of the Port Authority’s Bayonne Bridge project, which began in 2013 after it received fast-track environmental review status and a federal permit from the U.S. Coast Guard. An elevated roadway through the existing arch bridge and over the existing roadway was completed in February 2017, allowing the old roadway to be removed. The bridge’s new navigational clearance was certified at 215 feet in June.
Today’s ship call comes as the Port of New York and New Jersey is experiencing record cargo volume growth. During the first six months of 2017, cargo volume rose 4.4 percent compared to the former six-month record set in 2015. The record volumes have allowed the port to maintain its position as the busiest on the East Coast.