It what is certainly a unprecedented time as the COVID-19 slows international trade, the Port of Oakland is set to receive the one of the world’s largest cargo ships later this week. The largest ever to dock in Oakland.
The 1,312-foot-long MSC Anna is scheduled to dock at Oakland’s International Container Terminal on Thursday with a load of empty containers it is currently picking up in Southern California, according to port officials. It will spend 24 hours in port unloading the containers and then taking on exports.
The ship can hold 19,200 20-foot cargo containers, making it one of the largest vessels ever to visit a North American port. According to reports, this ships capacity surpasses the 18,000 containers aboard the CMA Benjamin Franklin which came to Oakland in 2016.
“We’ve spent years and millions of dollars keeping ahead of the pace of trade and the size of ships,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan.
In 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished dredging 870 acres of Bay floor, cleaning up a 50-foot-deep channel leading massive container ships into 50-foot-deep berths at the Port, according to the port.
According to the press release, San Francisco Bar Pilots said they’ve undertaken extensive planning with the Port and MSC to prepare for the arrival of the MSC Anna. Pilots navigate ships in and out of San Francisco Bay and guide them to ports.
According to Joseph Long, President of the Bar Pilots Association, preparations for the MSC Anna’s arrival included computer simulations at the Cal State Maritime Academy in Vallejo. The simulations contributed to a better understanding of navigational demands created by megaships, he explained.
“The San Francisco Bay is one of the most challenging pilotage grounds in the world and safely piloting these huge ships requires expertise and significant training,” Capt. Long said. “The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of the global supply chain to our region’s economy. We are pleased to continue our tradition of safety and service to support this vital part of the infrastructure.”