California Welcomes Cargo Ship Larger than Empire State Building

CMA GCM Benjamin Franklin
Scott Varley/AFP/Getty Images

The floating behemoth, which is operated by French shipping line CMA-GCM, is also an energy powerhouse. Its 78-foot engine room is as powerful as 900 compact sedans and capable of producing more thrust than 11 jetliners.

As an added touch of luxury, the vessel also sports its own swimming pool.

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Despite her impressive statistics, the Benjamin Franklin isn’t the largest cargo ship in the world. In fact, she’s surprisingly far down on the list, as a lot of the world’s high-capacity shipping activity happens outside of the North American market.

Instead, that distinction is held by MCS Oscar, Zoe and Oliver, a trio of mammoth cargo ships operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company. Although they come in approximately 10 feet shorter in length than the Benjamin Franklin, they can carry 1,244 more containers.

North America isn’t quite ready for such hefty ships, however, because existing port infrastructure is not designed for such large vessels. Upon arrival in Los Angeles, the Benjamin Franklin was only loaded to 70% capacity, as the port’s cranes cannot unload containers stacked any higher.