SHEP solidifies Savannah’s status with super-sized ships

The CMA CGM Brazil arrives at the Garden City Terminal. Photo courtesy of Georgia Ports Authority.

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Last week, the Georgia Ports Authority welcomed a big-time VIS (very important ship), which not only made waves in Savannah, but all along the East Coast.

The CMA CGM Brazil, which is the largest ship to call on the East Coast, cruised up River Street the morning of Sept. 18.

The ship’s tugboats gave a water salute on its route upriver, accentuating its 1,200-foot-long hull, which boasts a capacity of more than 15,000 containers (twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs).

“The sight of this colossal ship makes perfectly clear the benefits America will gain from the Savannah Harbor deepening,” said Col. Daniel Hibner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District.

“The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, now nearly complete, will boost the economy at a critical time and will have broad impacts for Georgia, South Carolina and throughout the Southeast.”

The Brazil’s visit is significant because it represents the culmination of years of planning and dredging among several ports along the East Coast, of which the Corps of Engineers is a major partner. The ship made stops at ports in New York/New Jersey, Norfolk and Charleston, all represented by our sister USACE districts.

A statue of Florence “The Waving Girl” Martus welcomes the CMA CGM Brazil, the largest ship to call on the East Coast, as it makes its way up the Savannah River, Sept. 18, 2020. 
Video by Jeremy S. Buddemeier, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District.

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is the preeminent deepening project in the USACE portfolio because no other project compares to its national yields: For every dollar spent, the nation will get $7.30 in return.

After the Brazil arrived at the Garden City Terminal, GPA held a press conference to thank CMA CGM officials for trusting the port, and to thank the project partners who have contributed to SHEP’s success.

Griff Lynch, GPA’s executive director, said for every foot deeper in the Savannah Harbor, GPA could load an additional 200 containers on this vessel. SHEP will deepen the Savannah River 5 feet (from 42 to 47 feet), so that’s 1,000 more containers.

Although post-Panamax ships like the Brazil have been able to call on Savannah because of the huge tidal fluctuations, a deeper channel will increase efficiencies by allowing more ships like this to deliver goods with fewer weight and tidal restrictions.

SHEP is currently 75% complete and is expected to be finished in 2021.

For more photos of the Brazil’s visit, check out our Flickr site.

~ Jeremy S. Buddemeier, Corporate Communications Office

About U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District oversees a multimillion dollar military construction program at 11 Army and Air Force installations in Georgia and North Carolina. We also manage water resources across the Coastal Georgia region, including maintenance dredging of the Savannah and Brunswick harbors; operation of three hydroelectric dams and reservoirs along the upper Savannah River; and administration of an extensive stream and wetland permitting and mitigation program within the state of Georgia. Follow us on Twitter @SavannahCorps and on
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