Giant container ship Marco Polo headed for Halifax
HALIFAX -- One of world's largest container ships is headed for Halifax.
The Marco Polo will make its first stop on the Eastern Seaboard next week.
"It will be the largest container ship that we’ve ever seen here in Halifax," said Lane Farguson, a spokesperson for the Port of Halifax. "This is a massive vessel."
Not only is this a big accomplishment for Halifax, the Marco Polo will be the largest vessel to enter any port on the Atlantic coast of North America.
"There’s only a handful of ports that have the deep water capability and the necessary infrastructure to be able to take those vessels and turn them around efficiently," Farguson said. "Halifax is one of them."
Marco Polo is close to 400 metres long, but a recent 137-metre extension to the pier in Halifax allows the port to be able to handle these gigantic post-Panamax ships – so-called because they are too large to fit in the original locks of the Panama Canal.
"What that’s important for is the shipping lines, because they want to make sure when those big ships call on Halifax, that there’s going to be room for them at berth," Farguson said.
The ship is owned by French company CMA-CGM. That fact they have added Halifax to their itinerary is good news for the economy.
"For the men and women that work down at the terminals or those who are involved in the supply chain, it means jobs -- it means opportunity," Farguson said.
The Marco Polo is scheduled to arrive in Halifax on Monday or Tuesday. On Monday, it passed through the Strait of Gibraltar according to the shipping website MarineTraffic.com. Most of its cargo is destined for Ontario, Quebec and the midwest United States.