Port Of Baltimore Welcomes Giant Ship

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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DUNDALK, Md. (WJZ)—There is big, and then there’s the container ship, Sindy. It’s the largest ship ever to dock in Baltimore.

Alex DeMetrick reports far larger vessels are on the way. 

It is the future of shipping.

It’s impressive. The Mediterranean Shipping Company Sindy shows her true sides from the stern where cargo containers literally reach new heights. Those who have spent a lifetime following shipping in Baltimore have never seen anything like it.

“I must say that I’m breathless as I look there and see those 18 containers across and that height and how they’re nestled together and that they can roll on the high seas in storms without falling apart,” said Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, retired.

Right now large cargo ships hold up to 4,500 containers. The Sindy can hold upwards of 9,000.  But as big as it is, larger vessels are still coming with the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2014.

Ports America Chesapeake, which runs the port for Maryland, is constructing new deepwater berths to accommodate future super-sized ships.

How does that place us competitively?

We’ll be “one of two ports on the East Coast that will be able to handle these larger ships, with a 50-foot draft alongside the pier,” said Mark Schmidt, terminal manager.

As big as the ship is, it is only a fraction of the size of what’s coming.

“[Sindy] is about half the size of others that are already on the drawing board,” Bentley said.

When cargo rolls off those ships, one vessel will carry enough containers to stretch the length of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

“It’s scheduled for completion at the end of this year for the work itself. We have four new container cranes coming in May 2012 and they’ll be on vessels and running by August 2012,” said Schmidt.

Until a deeper berth is open, the Sindy will not carry a full cargo load. If it did, its hull would hit the bottom.

The Sindy is more than 1,100 feet long. That’s roughly the length of an aircraft carrier.

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