The largest container ship to ever visit the East Coast just arrived at the Port of New York and New Jersey: Meet the Marco Polo

CMA CGM Marco Polo arrival
The CMA CGM Marco Polo arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

  • The CMA CGM Marco Polo is the largest container ship to visit the US East Coast.
  • It can carry a total of 16,022 containers that ship goods such as furniture, foodstuffs, and clothing.
  • Its arrival was possible due to a $1.7 billion project to raise the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A new record was just set at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The CMA CGM Marco Polo arrived in New York Harbor on Thursday morning after completing a three-week journey from China through the Suez Canal. It’s the largest container vessel to ever visit, or call, the East Coast of the US and was the largest in the world when it was built in 2013.

A total of 16,022 20-foot-equivalent containers, also known as TEUs, can fit on the ship that’s roughly the size of the Empire State Building. That many containers could cover 61 miles if put in a straight line, almost the width of New Jersey.

Inside the containers are a variety of consumer goods including home goods, furniture, and construction materials, bound for US customers. Over 10,000 shipping companies and customers are represented by the containers on the ship.

CMA CGM Marco Polo arrival
The CMA CGM Marco Polo arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

While it’s in the port, 5,000 TEUs will be offloaded onto a constant stream of trucks and then transported either by road or rail to their final destinations. Over 140 million people are served by the Port of New York and New Jersey and even destinations as far as Chicago are a short two-day train ride away.

Once the offloading process is complete, new containers will be put on the ship to be delivered at other ports of call as the Marco Polo continues its around-the-world journey. Popular exports from the US include cotton, forest products, agricultural supplies, and foodstuffs.

Before arriving in the US, the ship made stops in Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Canada as part of CMA CGM’s Columbus JAX service. The Port of Savannah in Georgia will be the last port of call before the long trip back to Asia.

A record-setting pandemic

The Port of New York and New Jersey just celebrated a similar milestone in September when the CMA CGM Brazil broke the record now being broken by the Marco Polo.

Larger mega-ships have only recently been able to access the East Coast’s largest port since 2019. Standing in the way between the port and the massive freighters has been the Bayonne Bridge, connecting Bayonne, New Jersey with Staten Island, New York.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spent $1.7 billion to raise the roadway of the bridge and allow larger ships to pass underneath. Engineers also dredged the bottom of the Kill van Kull, using explosives to break up the bedrock below, to increase the depth of the port’s waterways to 50 feet.

CMA CGM Marco Polo arrival
The CMA CGM Marco Polo arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Ships with capacities as much as 18,000 TEUs can now access the Port of New York and New Jersey, giving shipping companies another option when serving the US. Some ships have been choosing to call the East Coast port instead of waiting in the backlog of ships outside the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, as Insider’s Brittany Chang saw firsthand.

Read More: 22 companies cashing in on the brutal log-jam at America’s busiest ports

And the Bayonne Bridge project was completed not a moment too soon. A backlog of consumer goods like furniture has been building up during the pandemic, and larger ships are required to meet the newfound demand.

The Marco Polo is just one ship that’s helping chip away at that backlog so consumers can receive the long-awaited goods they’ve ordered during the e-commerce boom of the pandemic.

Read More: The untold story of how the furniture industry crashed during the pandemic – and how smart players are rethinking it now

And while the Marco Polo’s arrival is a monumental occasion for the port, the ever-growing demand for mega-ships will likely mean an even larger ship may break the record once again in a few month’s time.

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The epic traffic jam of 400 ships caused by the Ever Given blockage of the Suez Canal is cleared, Egyptian authorities say

suez canal ever given
Photographers take pictures of ships sailing through the Suez Canal as traffic resumes after the “Ever Given” container ship operated by the Evergreen Marine Corporation, was freed after blocking the waterway route for almost a week.

  • A shipping backlog of more than 400 ships was caused by the Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal.
  • The 61 ships that remain stranded are expected to pass through the waterway on Saturday.
  • Problems caused by the blockage could take months to resolve, the world’s biggest shipping company warned.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The shipping backlog that built up after the Ever Given container ship became lodged in the Suez Canal should come to an end on Saturday, authorities told Reuters.

The 61 remaining ships of the 422 that were left stranded after the major blockage are expected to pass through the waterway imminently, the Suez Canal Authority’s chairman, Osama Rabie, said.

Around 85 ships in total are set to pass through the canal on Saturday, he added.

Read more: The 4 biggest losers of the Suez Canal fiasco – and 4 surprising winners

Last Monday, the Egyptian president’s advisor for the canal authority told Bloomberg that it could take “around a week” to get all of the ships out of the canal’s corridor.

If the remaining ships successfully pass through the waterway on Saturday, the backlog’s end will have beaten expectations by a couple of days.

The reopening of the canal, however, will likely not mark the end of the disruption.

The world’s biggest shipping company, Maersk, warned on Monday that the shipping problems caused by the Ever Given could take months to resolve, Insider’s Sinéad Baker reported.

“Even when the canal gets reopened, the ripple effects on global capacity and equipment are significant and the blockage has already triggered a series of further disruptions and backlogs in global shipping that could take weeks, possibly months, to unravel,” Maersk said.

The 1,300-foot Ever Given container ship was stuck for about 152 hours, with the blockage’s total costs reaching an estimated $60 billion.

Rabie told local television stations that an investigation into what caused the costly jam is ongoing and will reach its conclusion next week, Reuters reported.

“The investigation is going well‮ ‬and will take two more days. Then we will announce the results,” Rabie said.

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Your morning coffee is about to get more expensive

coffee shortage
There’s a coffee shortage.

When it rains, it pours, and when there’s a drought, prices go up.

In this case, the drought is in Brazil and it has the US running low on coffee. That means your morning cup of joe is about to get more expensive.

The drought has decreased crop production just as congested shipping ports have caused US coffee stockpiles to hit the lowest they’ve been in six years, Bloomberg reported. So far, roasters have been relying on their inventories instead of hiking prices, but that will only last so long and wholesale prices have climbed.

Potential losses from the drought could affect half of Brazil’s coffee crops next year, soft commodities expert Judith Ganes told Reuters in December. She said it was hard to determine how badly Brazil’s Arabica beans were hit, but “there will be major failure,” she said. “I saw areas with 100% losses, 50% losses, 30% losses.”

Arabica-coffee futures in New York have increased by nearly a quarter since the end of October, per Bloomberg. And Marex Spectron recently upgraded its global coffee deficit forecast from 8 million bags to 10.7 million bags, citing the drought.

Logistic problems have only compounded the shortage brought on by declining crops. Some facilities in Dinamo, Brazil, told Bloomberg don’t have enough containers to ship out coffee. Some containers and charter vessels aren’t currently available, causing back ups and delays at shipping ports.

David Rennie, head of Nestle’s coffee brands, told Bloomberg it could take two to three years for take-away coffee to return to pre-Covid levels.

But coffee isn’t the only goods shortage hitting the global economy as it reopens this year.

US shipping ports have become unusually congested as imports pick up speed due to surging and unpredictable consumer demand, delaying shipments of all types, from sneakers to meat. Companies struggled to estimate demand correctly, partly explaining the pileup, while factory production was halted off and on during the work-from-home economy of 2020.

The shortage is particularly acute in certain spaces, such as in the semiconductor chips needed to make personal electronics and products with electronic components such as cars. Finally, February’s Texas Freeze suspended much of the US oil sector and the manufacturers who rely on it, making gas harder to come by and things refineries produce, like plastics, more expensive.

That’s not to mention the shortage of things like bikes, fitness equipment, and even lumber, the latter of which has added to already high housing prices. As supply dwindles, all of these things become things Americans could end up paying more for.

But you know what they say, when it rains, it pours.

Read the original article on Business Insider