Bay Area to the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin: ‘Hurry back’

Press Release

For Immediate Release
January 4, 2016

Bay Area to the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin: ‘Hurry back’

Largest container ship ever in U.S. leaves Port of Oakland; due back in Feb.

For photos and videos of the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, CLICK HERE

Oakland, CA – January 4, 2016: So long, “Big Ben;” hurry back. That was the message to the 1,310-foot megaship CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin today as she left here following a weekend visit.

The largest container vessel to ever call the U.S. sailed from the Port of Oakland at 1:30 p.m. Nicknamed “Big Ben” by Bay Area media, she left goodwill and the promise of more business in her wake.

“This was a milestone event,” said Port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “We proved the Port of Oakland can handle big ships efficiently and the entire Bay Area got caught up in the excitement of global trade.”

The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, which carries up to 18,000 containers, drew hundreds of sightseers as she sailed into Oakland New Year’s Eve. Many more watched her departure this afternoon under cloudy skies.

The visit was viewed as a trial-run to determine if big ships can work effectively on the U.S. West Coast. The initial verdict from Port officials: They can.

More than 2,200 cargo containers were moved on and off the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin Saturday and Sunday. Cargo operations concluded on schedule Sunday night. Port officials reported no problems with cargo handling equipment or staffing levels.

“The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin’s call at the Port of Oakland was made possible thanks to a tight collaboration with all stakeholders at the Port,” said Marc Bourdon, President of CMA CGM (America) LLC, a subsidiary of CMA CGM, the vessel’s operator. “By welcoming the largest container ship ever to call at US ports, authorities have demonstrated their willingness to be part of an ever growing shipping industry.”

The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin is scheduled to make a second West Coast visit in February. Maritime experts expect megaships such as the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin to become an increasingly important part of the Trans-Pacific trade between Asia and the U.S.

About the Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport, and 20 miles of waterfront. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at


Robert Bernardo,
Communications Manager
Port of Oakland
(510) 627-1401

Marilyn Sandifur,
Port Spokesperson
Port of Oakland
(510) 627-1193

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