Friday, May 19, 2017

Oakland Port Begins Raising Height of Ship-to-Shore Cranes

By Mark Edward Nero

Work has begun at the Port of Oakland to heighten four massive ship-to-shore cranes used to load and unload container vessels.

On May 15, the port confirmed that the 366-foot cranes would be raised 27 feet over the course of a nine-month project. Oakland has said taller cranes will be better able to reach containers stacked high above decks on modern-day megaships.

“This is a commitment to the future of shipping in Oakland,” John Driscoll, the port’s maritime director, said. “Vessels are getting bigger and bigger and we’re providing the infrastructure to keep them coming our way.”

The port is raising the cranes at Oakland International Container Terminal in partnership with terminal operator SSA Marine. The cost of the project is estimated at $14 million.

The port also said that crane-raising is part of an overall effort to strengthen Oakland’s competitiveness among West Coast ports. Other projects underway or expected to begin soon include doubling the size of nearby TraPac marine terminal, building a 287,000-square foot refrigerated cargo transport, and developing the first 27 acres of a seaport logistics complex that could attract additional imports and exports.

Last week, technicians began the work by pulling the first three-million-pound unit off its guide rails. In a 90-minute procedure, it was shuttled to the eastern edge of OICT’s Oakland Estuary dock, which is where the rest of the work is expected to take place, starting in June.

Over a nine-week period, engineers will brace the crane on supports, cut away its lower legs and affix extensions. They will then return the heightened crane to duty before withdrawing the next one, probably in August according to the port.