Skip to main content

A cargo ship longer than the Empire State Building just arrived in LA

The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin is longer than the Empire State Building is tall, dwarfs the largest aircraft carrier in the US Navy, and can carry the volume of 235 Olympic swimming pools. And for the first time, the vast vessel has docked at the Port of Los Angeles, making it the largest container ship to ever reach the United States.

The cargo ship arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday, the first part of a multi-stage trip along the US west coast that will also see it stop in Oakland on December 31st. Set against the Port of Los Angeles' huge cranes, a time-lapse video of the vessel arriving for the first time in the US almost makes it look normal in scale, but compared to the largest boats on the sea, the Benjamin Franklin is a monster. Its deck is 1,300 feet from prow to stern — longer than than three football fields — and it can lug 18,000 containers across the world's oceans, requiring an engine that puts out as much thrust as 11 Boeing 747-400 engines.

Eric Garcetti, mayor for Los Angeles, said that the city was chosen by French shipping company CMA CGM for the Benjamin Franklin's first stop to show that the port was "among the world's greatest." Just a year after labor disputes brought seabound trade on the United States' west coast to a standstill, the Port of Los Angeles will hope successfully processing the largest cargo vessel that America has ever seen will prove that the country's Pacific ports are back up and running.


Verge Video Vault: The World's most technologically advanced cruise ship