As global trade continues to reel from the effects of COVID-19, the Port of Melbourne (PoM) sees signs of optimism with the arrival of CMA CGM Ural–the largest capacity container vessel to dock in Melbourne.

The 299-meter long vessel made its maiden call to PoM in June 25, and was handled by Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT).  CMA CGM Ural has a maximum capacity of 10,662-TEUs, which is more than double the 4,500 TEU capacity of the average container ships that call at the PoM.  It is one of six vessels deployed in the AAX1 service connecting Southeast Asia and Australia.

“The arrival of CMA CGM Ural shows the Port of Melbourne’s capacity to service the largest growing number of bigger vessels we’ll see into the future. PoM’s operations have undergone significant change over the years including automation, changes to supply chains, and to the infrastructure that supports them,” said Brendan Bourke, PoM Chief Executive Officer.

He added: “We’re always looking at ways to leverage the significant capability of our operations.  We’ve developed a 30-yerar strategy that addresses PoM’s critical role as part of an interconnected network of physical infrastructure, commercial systems, and land-uses.”

Mr. Bourke also described the call as an indicator of the resilience of the Asia-Australia trade despite the challenges caused by COVID-19 and recent natural disasters.

For Tim Vancampen, VICT Chief Executive Officer, CMA CGM Ural’s arrival highlights the economies of scale and improved efficiency introduced by larger vessels to the Victorian market and supply chain.  More importantly, the call demonstrates VICT’s ability to seamlessly handle these ships as bigger boxships cascade into the Australian east coast: “VICT welcomes the 10,622 TEU CMA CGM Ural as the largest capacity vessel to call at the Port of Melbourne and congratulates all the parties involved.”

“VICT is well-equipped to accommodate this class of vessels ranging from 10,500 to 13,000 TEUs and plans to further invest in the Port of Melbourne to accommodate the next-generation vessels ranging from 15,000 to 18,000 TEUs. We will ensure that the Port of Melbourne will continue to fulfill its role as the main gateway to Victoria and consolidate and expand its position in the global shipping network,” added Mr. Vancampen.

Anthony Orgill, ANL General Manager of Asia ANZ Lines, said the call is an important milestone for the shipping industry: “By implementing larger container ships into our services, we can support clients operating between Australia, Southeast Asia, and beyond. The call marks a fantastic milestone as a business and as an industry, highlighting our ongoing evolution to accommodate increasing demand, population growth, and productivity.”

CMA CGM Ural docked in Melbourne for almost two days, sailing to Sydney and Brisbane before heading back to Malaysia.

CMA CGM Ural at VICT on 25 June