Savannah greets largest ship to dock on east coast

The Port of Savannah served the CMA CGM Marco Polo, the largest vessel to ever call the U.S. East Coast, on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. The vessel has a carrying capacity of more than 16,000 twenty-foot equivalent container units. Featuring nearly 10,000 feet of contiguous dock space, 30 ship-to-shore cranes, and 1,345 acres of container yard space, the Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal is perfectly suited to handling vessels in the 16,000-TEU class. Find print-quality images here. (Georgia Ports Authority / Stephen B. Morton)

The largest ship ever to visit the East Coast slipped into Savannah Wednesday morning with plans to shed thousands of 20-foot-long containers filled with furniture, appliances, auto parts and construction materials.

Longer than the Empire State Building and able to carry up to 16,000 containers, the spectacle of the CMA GGM Marco Polo caused people along River Street to gather and watch. The ship started its voyage in Asia and traveled through the Suez Canal to stops in Canada and New Jersey. Its last port of call in North America will be Charleston.

The ship's visit is emblematic of the swelling trade passing through Savannah, as increasing quantities of goods are transferred on and off ever-larger ships.

"This is very exciting for the Georgia Ports," said Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority.