Halifax breaks record after welcoming massive container ship

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The Marco Polo cruised into the Port of Halifax on Monday evening, after travelling from South Asia. (Brett Ruskin/CBC - image credit)
The Marco Polo cruised into the Port of Halifax on Monday evening, after travelling from South Asia. (Brett Ruskin/CBC - image credit)

The largest container ship to ever call on North America's east coast has arrived in Halifax.

The Marco Polo cruised into the Port of Halifax on Monday evening, after travelling from South Asia.

The vessel has the capacity to carry more than 16,000 shipping containers and is about three and a half football fields long.

"It's an absolutely massive vessel," said Lane Farguson, spokesperson for the Halifax Port Authority.

"We're really excited about this ship coming in and really what it means for Halifax and its place in the international shipping community."

The Marco Polo is carrying everything from clothing to household goods and electronics.
The Marco Polo is carrying everything from clothing to household goods and electronics.(Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Farguson said at 16 metres depth, Halifax's terminal is deep enough to accommodate the vessel.

The port also has the necessary berth length to accommodate the Marco Polo as well as other smaller ships that may arrive at the same time.

"It's a huge advantage for us to be able to accept those vessels, because there are so few ports along the east coast of North America that can accept them. We are one of them," said Farguson.

"Being able to turn them around puts us into a very unique category and we're the only container port in eastern Canada that can take these vessels."

The Halifax Port Authority says at 16 metres depth, its terminal is deep enough to accommodate the vessel. 
The Halifax Port Authority says at 16 metres depth, its terminal is deep enough to accommodate the vessel. (Submitted by Halifax Port Authority)

Farguson said in the shipping industry, bigger can definitely be better. He said shipping costs are reduced when more containers can be loaded onto a single vessel — savings that could be passed on to the consumer.

He said the Marco Polo is carrying everything from clothing to household goods and electronics.

Roughly 60 per cent of the cargo will be loaded onto rail, destined for places like Quebec, Ontario and the American Midwest.

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