Inside a Container Ship on the Front Lines of the Shipping Crisis, the CMA CGM Marco Polo

Table of Contents

The Bayonne Bridge over Newark Bay had clearance for 12,500 TEU ships until 2019. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey elevated the roadway connecting Bayonne, New Jersey, and Staten Island, New York, in a $1.7 billion project to accommodate ships as large as 18,000 TEUs, just in time for the pandemic.

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Insider went on board the CMA CGM Marco Polo while it was docked in New Jersey. Here’s what it’s like on board.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


A long, narrow gangway is the only way on or off the Marco Polo for anything that isn’t a container. It’s a long way up as the gangway sways with the weight of the people on it.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Registered in the Bahamas, the CMA CGM Marco Polo is a nine-year-old ship delivered to the shipping giant in Marseille, France, in November 2012.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Hallways run the length of the ship’s massive tower with rooms on each side.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Our tour began in the ship’s office, also known as the cargo office, where we met Captain Zeljko Mioc.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The Croatian captain has served in the maritime industry for more than 30 years, traversing the globe on container ships. Before that, he worked issuing airplane tickets at an airport.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The Marco Polo started this voyage in China, with the crossing via the Suez Canal taking about three weeks, with a port call in Halifax, Nova Scotia, before arriving in New York Harbor.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Passing through the Suez Canal was normal, the crew described, even just a few weeks after the Ever Given had run aground and blocked the path for other ships.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The next stop was the bridge, located on the top floor of the tower. In addition to the main stairwell, there was an elevator to take us up.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Posters on the staircase leading to the bridge are also reminiscent of old airline advertisements highlighting exotic locals that this ship visits on a yearly basis.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Some charts are taped to the walls for easy reference.

Port of New York and New Jersey visit

Touring the Port of New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Pallini/Insider