PortMiami officially welcomed its first Neopanamax container ship on Saturday, July 9 when the MOL Majesty arrived at the port after transiting the newly expanded Panama Canal.
Owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, the MOL Majesty measures 302 meters (990.81 feet) in length and 43.4 meters (142.39 feet) in beam.
Miami has spent $1.3 billion in port improvements to accommodate bigger ships including dredging its its shipping channel to a depth of 52 feet, construction of a port access tunnel directly linking the port to the interstate highway system and construction of a rail bridge and on-port track that connects PortMiami to the Florida East Coast rail yard.
The MOL Majesty will also call on Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston and Norfolk before heading to the U.S. West Coast and then returning to Japan. Not all its U.S. ports of call have the depth to accommodate the vessel fully laden.
During the celebrations, the Panama Canal and PortMiami renewed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote trade opportunities and share best customer practices.
The MOU was signed by Panama Canal Administrator and CEO Jorge L. Quijano and PortMiami Director Juan M. Kuryla and extends the 13 year-plus alliance enjoyed by both parties.
Quijano attended Saturday’s celebration where he delivered remarks about the added trade opportunities and economic benefits the agreement will bring to their respective regions.
“This is a great day that signals the beginning of a new era for shipping,” he said. “For the first time, we have these mega vessels transiting our waterway and calling at your port. This groundbreaking development will undoubtedly bring economic prosperity, as well increased opportunities and revenues to both PortMiami and the Panama Canal.”
Thirteen years ago PortMiami and the Panama Canal Authority first signed its MOU. Since then, PortMiami has invested in a number of critical infrastructure improvements to deepen its channel to accommodate Neopanamax vessels, and improve the traffic flow and movement of the cargo it receives.
With the new locks now operational, Neopanamax ships have begun transiting the waterway toward U.S. Gulf and East Coast ports, such Port of New York and New Jersey and Houston, and are expected to call on additional ports which are similarly investing in infrastructure projects to take advantage of the Canal Expansion. Neopanamax ships transiting the Panama Canal have also headed to ports in Asia and the Caribbean, such as Cartagena.