CMA CGM group is sending bigger ships to call Yokohama, with the first 14,000-TEU vessel, APL Esplanade, visiting the port last week.

CMA CGM said accommodation has been made at the Honmoku D4 terminal in Yokohama to receive larger vessels of up to 14,000 TEUs.

APL Esplanade arrived at the container port with 35% more capacity than the smaller vessels deployed previously.

Its arrival was welcomed by representatives from CMA CGM Japan, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), the City of Yokohama and Yokohama Kawasaki International Port Corporation (YKIP) gathered at the terminal.

Destined next for South Korea on the Asia Central South America 1 (ACSA1) service route, APL Esplanade has called at Manzanillo, Lazaro Cardenas, Puerto Quetzal, Buenaventura, Guayaquil, and Callao before reaching Yokohama. The ACSA1 service calls weekly at the Honmoku D4 terminal.

Operated by CMA CGM, the terminal has a total annual operating capacity of over 400,000 TEUs and contributes to about 15% of Yokohama’s port throughput.

CMA CGM Japan president Hideki Uchida said, “Our larger vessels will now cater to more inbound cargoes to Yokohama, particularly fresh fruits from Central and Southern America. With Japan’s fresh fruits imports on the rise, this capacity upgrade is a timely relief to our consignees who can be assured of vessel space for their incoming shipments. This also translates into Better Ways of serving our customers and keeping their supply chains going.”

City of Yokohama Port and Harbour Bureau director general Hiroya Nakano said, “On behalf of the port of Yokohama, I would like to extend a warm welcome to the first arrival of APL Esplanade. This is the first time that the Honmoku D4 Terminal has been able to receive a large 14,000 TEU vessel. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all those involved for their cooperation during this period, and we will continue to provide both hardware and software support to improve the convenience of the port of Yokohama for the continued call of CMA CGM Group vessels.”

MLIT Ports and Harbour Bureau director-general Takamitsu Asawa MLIT said, “I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the effort by CMA CGM, Tokyo Bay Licensed Pilots’ Association, City of Yokohama, YKIP and other related organisations in order to achieve this great success, the first arrival of the 14,000-TEU APL Esplanade containership at the Honmoku D4 terminal today. As a standpoint to implement the International Container Hub policy, the MLIT is pressing forward with creating much more attractive and valuable international container ports to cargo owners and ocean carriers so that many containerships operated in direct route services to the world, including the Latin America region, can call at the port of Yokohama.”