By Mark Edward Nero
The Port of Oakland said Feb. 24 that as many as six 366-foot-tall cranes will soon be raised 27 feet higher. The $14 million-to-$21 million project is expected to begin this spring at its largest marine terminal, with the objective being to make it easier to load and unload megaships with containers stacked high above deck.
“By raising the height of ship-to-shore cranes, we make certain that we’re ready as more megaships head our way,” Port of Oakland Maritime Director John Driscoll said.
The governing Board of Port Commissioners approved the crane plan at a Feb. 23 meeting. It calls for installing longer legs on four-to-six cranes at Oakland International Container Terminal, which handles 70 percent of Oakland’s cargo.
The Port of Oakland has said it will pay to raise the cranes and that the terminal operator, SSA, is expected to repay the port over the life of its Oakland lease.
“We need bigger cranes to work the larger and more heavily laden ships calling Oakland,” SSA President Ed DeNike said. “It’s part of SSA’s long-term commitment to Oakland.”
Container cranes are raised by having a massive jack lift the entire structure off the terminal deck, and then portions of the original crane legs are cut away. Next, new leg extensions are placed under the crane and fastened into place.
The terminal said it hopes to begin work on the cranes in April. Completion is scheduled for the second quarter of 2018, depending on how many cranes are raised. That number will also determine the project’s total cost.
The port said it would take about nine weeks to raise each crane.
Jacking equipment is already en route to Oakland, the port said. Up to 40 tractor-trailers are expected to be used to transport the equipment. Steel leg extensions are being fabricated in China where the cranes were manufactured.