Port of Oakland says visit of it’s biggest ship ever going well

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor · April 17, 2020

Port of Oakland officials bid farewell tonight to the biggest ship ever to visit this city. They add that the 32-hour call of the MSC Anna is proceeding on schedule.

The 1,312-foot-long container vessel departs for Busan, South Korea, sometime after 9 p.m. from a berth in Oakland Estuary. The Liberian-registered megaship is loading and unloading 1,486 cargo containers in Oakland. The Port reports no problems with cargo transfers despite the unprecedented size of the MSC Anna.

“We’re not newcomers at this,” says Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll. “We work big ships every day, and the folks on the docks are proving once again that Oakland can handle them efficiently.”

The MSC Anna docked April 16 at Oakland International Container Terminal. The terminal is the busiest in Oakland, handling 20-to-25 vessels weekly. It’s using Oakland’s tallest ship-to-shore cranes to hoist the MSC Anna’s cargo. San Francisco Bar Pilots will guide the ship out of Port after cargo operations conclude.

With room for 19,200 20-foot boxes, the MSC Anna is one of the largest container ships ever in North America. Besides transporting cargo, the ship was dispatched to the West Coast to collect empty containers, the port said. Shipping lines have hinted that MSC Anna-size ships may enter regular service here in the near future.

Before this week, the largest ship to call Oakland was the CMA Benjamin Franklin in 2016. That ship is 1,300-feet-long with a cargo capacity of 18,000 containers. The Port routinely handles the largest container ships in regular service to U.S. ports.

Meanwhile, the Port of Oakland continues to seek a direct call from Asia, ideally with a fully-loaded mega vessel.

“This proves that this is a realistic objective,” says Captain Joseph Long, president of the San Francisco Bar Pilots.

Last February – long before the vessel’s arrival – pilots spent time at the California Maritime Academy’s computer bridge simulator.

“We knew that a ship of this size would require different windows for tide and current adjustments,” concludes Long.

April 17, 2020