Nova Scotia

'You're going to notice this one': Container ship in Halifax is biggest yet for port

The CMA CGM Libra, which is berthed at the container terminal near Point Pleasant Park, is 364 metres long and can hold 11,400 shipping containers.

CMA CGM Libra is 364 metres long and can hold 11,400 shipping containers

The CMA CGM Libra is the largest container ship ever to stop in Halifax. (Steve Farmer/Port of Halifax)

An enormous container ship currently berthed at the shipping terminal near Point Pleasant Park is the largest vessel of its kind ever to stop in Halifax.

The CMA CGM Libra, which arrived on Saturday morning, is 364 metres long and can hold 11,400 shipping containers.

"Even if you don't follow ships that closely, you're going to notice this one," said Halifax Port Authority spokesperson Lane Farguson. "It's quite large."

Halifax has received vessels that hold 10,000 containers before, but this is the first one that holds more than 11,000.

"There's only a few ports that are deep enough, with necessary berth space that can berth and service these ultra-large vessels. Halifax is one of those ports," Farguson said.

The CMA CGM Libra holds 11,400 containers. (Port of Halifax)

The closest port that could handle a ship of Libra's size is New York.

Farguson said the trend in the shipping industry is toward larger and larger vessels. That's due to a handful of factors, including the addition of a second lane in the Suez Canal, the expansion of the Panama Canal and the raising of the Bayonne Bridge in New York. 

Some of the largest container ships in the world hold about 20,000 containers, but those are not used along the East Coast shipping lanes right now, Farguson said.

The Halterm container terminal is extending the pier at the south-end facility in order to accommodate two vessels of the size of the CMA CGM Libra.

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