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Rail News: Intermodal

North America's largest container ship calls on Long Beach port


On March 16, the largest container ship ever to call on North America reached Long Beach, Calif., according to the Port of Long Beach. The 1,200-foot MSC Fabiola, which arrived from China’s Port of Yantian, carried more than 12,000 containers.

Larger ships serving Asia and North America typically can carry about 8,000 containers. The port’s main channel is 76 feet deep, the deepest in North America, port officials said in a prepared statement.

“This is the largest container vessel now serving U.S.-Asia trade,” said J. Christopher Lytle, the port’s executive director. “Few ports can handle these giant ships [but] Long Beach is big-ship ready.”

The port plans to spend $4.5 billion over the next decade to further modernize its facilities, including the construction of the Middle Harbor terminal — "the world’s greenest and most technologically advanced container terminal" — and the replacement of the Gerald Desmond Bridge, port officials said. Part of the $750 million terminal project calls for adding 65,000 feet of track. The port’s switching railroad, Pacific Harbor Line Inc., interchanges with BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/20/2012