The container ship CMA CGM Centaurus made its first U.S. East Coast stop today at The Port of Virginia, signaling the beginning of the ocean carrier’s Chesapeake Bay Express (CBX) service, directly linking the port with several important Asian markets, port officials said. The 11,400 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessel is owned by France-based CMA CGM Group.
Officials from CMA CGM and the port welcomed the vessel, which was loaded with furniture, household goods, and consumer products as it called on Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). Recent port expansion and new equipment has helped it handle the increased volume, officials said. The port recently commissioned two new ship-to-shore cranes and 15 new shuttle trucks at NIT South, for example.
“This equipment will help us process the traditional peak-season volumes in addition to overall increases we are seeing as customers, like CMA CGM, rework services to take advantage of our efficiency,” Port of Virginia CEO and Executive Director Stephen A. Edwards said in a press release. “This equipment gives us the capacity to handle an additional 360,000 TEUs per year. And as we go forward, we are investing $1.4 billion to further increase capacity at NIT’s North Berth and its Central Rail Yard while dredging our channels to at least 55 feet deep, which will make The Port of Virginia the deepest port on the U.S. East Coast.”
The weekly CBX service employs 10 Panamax vessels. The port call rotation includes Yantian, Ningbo, Shanghai, Busan (Panama Canal transit), Norfolk, Savannah, Charleston, Miami (Panama Canal transit), and then back to Yantian.