After barely missing the mark last month, the Port of Charleston set a new record this past weekend for the number of cargo moves made during a single container ship's visit.
Crane operators with the State Ports Authority moved 3,091 metal cargo boxes on and off of the OOCL France during its one-day visit to Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant on June 3. That beat the previous record of 2,969 cargo moves set in January when the COSCO Beijing was in town.
The SPA had hoped to break the record on Mother's Day weekend when the COSCO Development — at the time, the largest container ship to visit the Port of Charleston — made its stop at Wando Welch Terminal. With 2,910 cargo moves on the Development, though, the port came up just shy of the mark.
"We had planned for 3,300 but they didn't have any more room on the ship," Jim Newsome, the SPA's president and CEO, said of the Development.
The France, which is capable of carrying nearly 14,000 cargo boxes, has since eclipsed the Development as the largest container ship to call on the port. It arrived at Wando Welch just after 2:30 a.m. on June 3 and work on the ship began at sunrise. By the time the France left at 5:39 p.m., 883 import boxes had been taken off the ship and 2,208 export boxes had been loaded onto the vessel for overseas destinations.
The 1,202-foot-long France is owned by Orient Overseas Container Line and is part of the Ocean Alliance's weekly South Atlantic Express service between Asia and the United States. That service features the biggest class of container ships, able to carry between 11,000 and 14,000 cargo boxes on a single journey.
The next South Atlantic Express ship scheduled to visit Wando Welch Terinal is the OOCL Chongqing, capable of carrying 13,208 cargo boxes, on Saturday.