Photo courtesy The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

As New York Harbor seeks to become more globally competitive, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has been making sweeping upgrades to its seaports, most notably raising the deck of the Bayonne Bridge. In line with these changes, last summer, the MOL Benefactor quietly became the largest ship to visit New York harbor, at 10,100 TEUs. Then two months ago, the 13,092-TEU Costco Development became the largest vessel to visit the East Coast (although it didn’t stop by New York). But as of July 17, there’s an even bigger vessel in town.

Meet the OOCL Berlin, now the largest ship to enter the Port of New York and New Jersey, as well as the longest ship to ride beneath the newly elevated Bayonne Bridge roadway. At 13,208 TEUs, the docking of the Berlin is ushering in a new age that will see ships of similar, or even larger, sizes in New York Harbor.

Photo courtesy The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

At 13,208 TEUs (that stands for “twenty-foot equivalent unit,” the unit of cargo capacity used for container ships), the Berlin is about 2,000 TEUs bigger than the previous largest vessel to enter the Port of New York and New Jersey. It’s also the first ship longer than 1,200 feet—the size of a whooping four football fields—to pass beneath the Bayonne Bridge’s newly elevated roadway. Take that in for a second and appreciate how huge that ship is, and what it must have been like to watch its towering facade sail into New York Harbor last week.

Until now, ships entering New York and New Jersey terminals have only been 1,000 feet long or less, making the feat even more impressive. Furthermore, the port has only seen ships slightly larger than 10,000 TEUs, with the Berlin having the capacity to carry over 30 percent more cargo than the previously largest ship to enter the port. The Berlin may even be the largest ship to call on the East Coast.

Photo courtesy The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

When the Berlin made its grand debut last week, it docked at Berth 58 at Maher Terminals, after traversing beneath the Bayonne Bridge earlier that afternoon. The ship was rotated to the Port of New York and New Jersey to load empty containers on one of its all-water East Coast services. To honor the milestone, the Port Department staff welcomed Captain Syed Khoda, the Director of OOCL (USA) Inc., and presented a plaque to the Master of the Berlin, Captain Tan Chen Seng.

The Berlin is operated under a vessel sharing agreement with the Ocean Alliance. It started its long journey from Hong Kong and then sailed through the Panama Canal, whose recent expansion helped spur the development of larger ships, called “New Panamax” vessels. The MOL Benefactor was the first New Panamax ship to visit New York City.

Photo courtesy The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

And there’s much more to come. Later this summer, the Berlin will already have a “sister ship” of the same size, called the OOCL Malaysia. Furthermore, the Ocean Alliance and other carriers are considering the rotation of three more 13,200-TEU ships to New York and New Jersey, based on market conditions during the second half of 2017. These vessels will be called the OOCL Korea, the OOCL Chongqing, and the OOCL France.

Photo courtesy The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Following the introduction of the Berlin, carrier alliances are intending to deploy even larger vessels to the Port of New York and New Jersey in the future, since demand for cargo is rising and fewer ports along the East Coast are able to provide infrastructure that can safely handle large ships. The vessels are expected to measure up to 18,000 TEUs!

So keep your eyes peeled and ears open for some big ships in New York Harbor. Many people missed the news about the MOL Benefactor, and you certainly won’t want to miss these even bigger vessels when they stop by New York City!

Next, read our coverage of the docking of the MOL Benefactor and The Top 10 Secrets of the Bayonne Bridge.

2 thoughts on “The OOCL Berlin Becomes Largest Ship to Enter Port of New York and New Jersey

  1. Cool article. Quick note. The NYC waterways do regularly host the QM2 which is 1132 ft long. . It does dock in Brooklyn. Manhattan has hosted a few huge cruise ships now and then. The aircraft carrier CV67 was slightly over 1000ft and would dock in Manhattan for Fleet Week , for some years.

    1. Ah yes, I believe the Port Authority is measuring largest by TEUs. But, we had someone on the latest arrival of the QM2 (just didn’t end up doing an article on it). Very cool ship.

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