On Thursday, May 20, the CMA CGM Marco Polo sailed through the Kill Van Kull on its way to Port Elizabeth. The Marco Polo is the largest ship ever to call on an East Coast port. When it was launched in 2013, the Marco Polo was the largest ship in the world. The vessel is five city blocks long. It is longer than the height of the Empire State Building.
Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis and representatives from the Port Authority walked up the new walkway of the Bayonne Bridge to get a view of the Marco Polo. While up there, the Mayor met little Vincenzo Robert Biancho and his parents Robert Flannery and Kristy Cranston. Vincenzo is the grandson of Robert Flannery Sr., who was the Harbor Pilot guiding the Marco Polo through the Kill Van Kull. Mayor Davis said, “It was very exciting to see such a large vessel pass under the Bayonne Bridge and transport consumer goods to a New Jersey port. The occasion should remind all of us of the importance of shipping to our regional economy.”
The escort vessels were provided by the Moran Towing Corporation. New York Police Department boats provided maritime security. Helicopters provided protection overhead.
The Marco Polo, a container vessel, was carrying well over 200 containers that bore the names of such shipping companies as Evergreen, China Shipping, Cosco, APL, and CMA CGM, the French company that owns the ship. CMA CGM has 566 vessels that do business at 420 ports in 160 countries.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey highlighted the arrival of the Marco Polo. The ship was able to sail through the Kill Van Kull to Port Elizabeth due to the Port Authority’s recent raise-the-roadway project at the Bayonne Bridge.