The coming wave of transoceanic shipping steamed into Port Everglades early Monday morning and tied up at Berth 32.
And it is big.
The aptly-named MSC Texas, the largest cargo ship ever to call at the port, is a forerunner of what’s to come: massive oceangoing vessels plying trade between continents, utilizing an expanded Panama Canal for transit.
“Given this trend, we fully be expecting larger vessels, such as the MSC Texas, to ceaselessly call at Port Everglades in the future, especially as soon as the Panama Canal is elevated,” Port Director Steven Cernak said Monday.
But for the port to accommodate the larger ships, which fully loaded require 47 feet of water, it must dig deeper channels. A dredging project, first discussed 15 years ago, is under review by the Army Corps of Engineers, which is expected to release its findings next month.
The MSC Texas, at 1,095 feet long equal in length to an aircraft carrier, is owned by Mediterranean Shipping Company, among the largest container shipping firms in the world. Its black hull hugged the dock Monday as one crane busily removed containers and another one loaded them. The vessel is capable of carrying 8,238, 20-foot containers, stacked 10 high in the hold below deck, and 10 high above on the 141-foot wide deck.
Because it requires a draft of 47 feet when fully laden, the MSC Texas arrived lightly loaded, about 2,000 containers short of a full cargo. The containers were stacked only seven high on deck Monday — still a dizzying height — because the port’s cranes can only reach that high.
The port will be getting two new cranes capable of reaching containers 10 high, another concession to the larger ships that are expected to loom on the horizon once a broader Panama Canal opens in 2014.
The canal is being widened with a 2d delivery lane to double its vessel capacity, permitting extra and bigger ships to transit its length. Ports along the united states East Coast are present process changes to handle those bigger vessels, called “post-Panamax” ships.
“This is anticipated to open up a lot of business for South Florida,” said Ellen Kennedy, the port’s manager of corporate and community relations.
“Port Everglades, as neatly as different Florida ports, are going to see will increase in vessel measurement,” said Cernak, who assumed the port director place in March. “we need to give you the talent to allow those larger vessels to come here.”
That ability may just come if the military Corps approves a venture to dredge port channels to a depth of fifty ft from its current moderate depth of forty two feet. cost for the project would approach $320 million, with the port purchasing $131 million via charges gathered from traveling ships. The Corps, in a initial observe, stated the port could see a return of $1.56 for each buck spent on dredging.
Deepening port channels could create 5,862 jobs in the short term, and 1,491 steady jobs by 2027, the Corps said.
The port is already house to the arena’s largest cruise ships, Royal Caribbean’s attract of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, but they don’t require the water intensity of closely loaded cargo ships.