PortMiami officially joined the Neopanamax era Saturday when the MOL Majesty — a vessel too big to fit through the original Panama Canal — became the first ship to arrive at the port after transiting the newly expanded canal.
To a soundtrack of Kool & The Gang’s Celebration and a water canon salute, the arrival of the Majesty was as much a celebration of Miami’s $1.3 billion in port improvements to accommodate bigger ships as it was a culmination of Panama’s nine-year locks project.
“It’s a wow day for Miami,” said PortMiami Director Juan Kuryla as super post-Panamax cranes plucking cargo from the Majesty loomed in the background. The Majesty, which transited the canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic on July 4, is part of the fleet of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, a Japanese company.
“That we have the mayor [Carlos Gimenez], the Panama Canal administrator, the chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, the president of Florida East Coast Railway and so many shipping line executives here speaks to the importance of the day and the importance of having 50-feet deep water,” Kuryla said.