Friday, December 4, 2015

Port of Oakland Retrofitting Giant Cranes

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Oakland said Nov. 30 that it’s raising four massive gantry cranes 26-feet higher to span modern megaships. The $13.95 million project, scheduled to begin in April, is meant to increase Oakland’s capacity to handle giant container vessels.

The taller cranes, located at Oakland International Container Terminal, will be able to reach 141 feet above the dock and will have the height to load and unload ships with capacity up to 14,000 20-foot containers, which are currently the largest vessels calling in the US.

“The big ships come here on a regular basis,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll explained. “This equips us to take on more of them as shipping lines continue to scale up.”

The four 13-year-old cranes each weigh 1,380 tons and are to be supported by jacking frames while their legs are cut away and replaced with new, longer ones. The legs will be fabricated by Shanghai-based ZPMC, manufacturer of the cranes. It will take 10 to 12 weeks to lift each crane, according to the port.

The cranes can lift as much as 65 tons of containerized cargo, and once they’re heightened, they’ll be able to reach three rows of containers higher on a ship.

There are 33 cranes at the port’s five marine terminals, eight of which are tall enough to reach atop the biggest ships in Oakland. The port said it is lifting additional cranes with an eye toward the future of global trade, because more ocean carriers are building big ships to gain economies of scale in transporting containerized cargo.