The largest container ship ever to call on the port of Baltimore arrived Wednesday at the Seagirt Marine Terminal, officials announced today.
The Tokyo, which made its first trip to Baltimore from Charleston, S.C., is one of the Mediterranean Shipping Company's largest ships, weighing nearly 72,000 tons and spanning 900 feet long, 131 feet wide and 184 feet high.
"This is a day that will go down as one of the most significant events in the 300-year history of our port," said Brooks Royster, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration.
He said a dredging program over the past several years made it possible for the port to accommodate larger ships that carry more cargo, leading to more business opportunities for the port and the state.
The year-old Tokyo is equipped to handle approximately 5,600 containers, according to officials. The public terminals managed by the Maryland Port Administration normally handle ships with more than 4,000 containers.
The Tokyo, which is flagged from Liberia, was put into service on short notice, so it did not follow the normal rotation of Baltimore being the first U.S. port of call, officials said. From Baltimore, the ship will head to the Port of Antwerp in Belgium.
State port officials said this will be the only call from the Tokyo. The ship is usually on the South Atlantic and Gulf run for the Mediterranean Shipping Company.
The company is one of the Maryland Port Association's largest customers. In 2005, they handled 200,000 of the 600,000 total containers processed through the agency's terminals.
Originally published February 2, 2006, 3:41 PM EST