On Monday morning, the largest ship to ever dock in North America pulled into Seattle.
The Benjamin Franklin is one of the biggest container ships in the world and carries electronics and other goods for stores like Target and Best Buy.
The ship’s arrival could mean big business in the future for ports like Seattle and Tacoma.
At 1,310 feet long, the ship is twice as long as the Space Needle and almost three times longer than the largest Washington State ferry — not to mention that it’s wider than a football field. It also carries twice the amount of a regular container ship; around 20,000 containers can fit on and under its deck.
Based in China, the ship came to Seattle after a stop in Oakland, CA, where it barely managed to clear under the Golden Gate Bridge.
The behemoth is reflective of the industry of which it is a part. Shipping is so huge that it represents 90% of the world’s trade.
Some officials are saying that the port visit from Ben Franklin will act as a kind of audition for the Port of Seattle, proving it can handle a ship of such size.
Once the goods on the container giant are unloaded, it will be reloaded with some of Washington state’s biggest exports, like lumber and apples.
The pilots who guided the ship safely to Pier 8 on Harbor Island had practiced for months before on a simulator at the Pacific Maritime Institute, to be ready for any conditions. After all, maneuvering a 200,000-ton mega ship to a safe dock is no easy feat.
Mega container ships are a new trend in the international shipping game, according to Kiro7. The capability to transport higher volumes of goods at once may be beneficial to some economies, but detrimental to others.