Hundreds of people stood on the shoreline snapping pictures as the massive CMA CGM MARCO POLO sailed into Charleston on Friday, setting the record as the largest ship to ever call the U.S. East Coast and the Port of Charleston.

South Carolina Ports welcomed the record-breaking CMA CGM MARCO POLO to Wando Welch Terminal. The vessel measures 1,300 feet long and has the capacity to carry 16,022 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent container units).

C Ports has invested $2 billion in port infrastructure in recent years to handle bigger ships and more cargo for customers.

Work is ongoing to enhance Wando Welch Terminal, including densifying the terminal, strengthening the berths and investing in new equipment. Wando Welch Terminal will have 15 ship-to-shore cranes with 155 feet of lift height above the wharf deck ready to work container ships later this year.

The opening of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in March marked the first container terminal to open in the U.S. since 2009. The Leatherman Terminal adds much-needed port capacity and another berth to the U.S. East Coast port market.

Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District is working to deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet; the project is progressing well and is fully funded by state and federal dollars.

The Charleston Harbor Deepening Project achieved a significant milestone this month by reaching 52 feet in the Wando River in front of Wando Welch Terminal. When the project is fully completed in 2022, Charleston will have the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet, capable of seamlessly handling fully loaded mega container ships at any time, any tide.

These significant projects are occurring while the maritime community and motor carriers provide efficient, fluid operations for customers.

The CMA CGM MARCO POLO is operated by the CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics. Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM America and APL North America, came to SC Ports to celebrate the arrival of the record-breaking vessel in Charleston.

The Port of Charleston is the last U.S. port of call for the CMA CGM MARCO POLO before it heads overseas after its historic journey.

The deployment of the CMA CGM MARCO POLO signifies the company’s commitment to creating agile and flexible solutions to meet the needs of its U.S. customer base as many ports are handling unprecedented cargo volumes from a boom in e-commerce and retail.

The CMA CGM MARCO POLO is part of CMA CGM’s Columbus JAX service, traveling between South Asia and the U.S. East Coast. The vessel arrives less than one year after the record-breaking 15,072-TEU CMA CGM BRAZIL, which called on SC Ports last September.