by Shari Miller Daily Mail
There was no mistaking who ruled the waves today, as the world’s largest container ship pulled into Southampton with thousands of Christmas presents on board.
Measuring 396 metres long – or the size of four professional football pitches – the CMA CGM Marco Polo made its maiden call to Britain packed full of goods from the Far East that will be distributed across the UK.
Locked away within the stacks of anonymous steel containers is anything and everything from televisions to soft furnishings and power tools to clothing.
The scope of the biggest man-made object to have ever moved across the planet is hard to comprehend: she is longer than the superliner Queen Mary 2 and more than five times longer than an Airbus A380..
After unloading her cargo, this true monster of the seas will set sail again tomorrow afternoon, this time bound for Hamburg, Germany.
Nicolas Sartini, CMA CGM Group’s senior vice-president of Asia-Europe Lines, said the company launched the ship ‘with great pride’.
Chris Lewis, managing director of DP World Southampton, which operates the terminal, said today marked ‘the latest milestone’ in the terminal’s history.
He added: ‘With the container industry changing, these new giants of the sea will soon be regulars at the terminal.’
Marco Polo is the first of the next generation of super-vessels destined to keep the wheels of international trade turning.
Even Cunard’s flagship, the mighty 151,000-ton Queen Mary 2, a familiar sight in Southampton, would be dwarfed by the giant container ship.