The Marco Polo is the largest container ship ever to call on the U.S. East Coast.

an enormous container ship passes a crowd of people watching from the shore

People gathered at the Savannah riverfront Wednesday, May 26, 2021, to watch the CMA CGM Marco Polo, the largest container ship ever to call on the U.S. East Coast.

Credit: Emily Jones

The largest container ship ever to visit the East Coast called at the Port of Savannah on Wednesday.

Huge cargo ships pass downtown Savannah on their way to the port every day but none as big as the CMA CGM Marco Polo. At 1,300 feet, it’s as long as nine Tybee Island Lighthouses or three Sanford Stadiums.

A crowd gathered on the riverfront to see it, including Savannah native Vaccardo Johnson and his 17-month-old son, Miles.

“Just from the horizon, it was taller than the trees," he said. "Like, you could see the ship above the trees back in the horizon. So it was way larger.”

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson welcomed the ship and rode up the river to the port. "#Savannah is the first port of call in the Southeast," he tweeted, along with a photo aboard the Marco Polo.

Once the deepening of the harbor is done, big ships like this will be able to call here more often and with more cargo. Port officials also want to raise the bridge over the river to allow even taller ships to pass under it.