Freight News, Sea

USEC’s Largest Cranes Ensure Virginia’s Ability to Handle Ships of the Future

[ January 4, 2019   //   ]

The Port of Virginia® has signed a contract allowing for the purchase of four new ship-to-shore cranes that are part of the $320 million expansion of Virginia International Gateway (VIG).

The Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners in its July meeting approved a spending package of $44.8 million that covers the cost of the cranes, parts, their delivery to Virginia from China and installation at VIG. The cranes are being built by Shanghai-based Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co., Ltd (ZPMC).

 The largest of their kind in the United States, these four cranes will be able to handle the Ultra Large Container Vessels, or ULCVs, that are currently calling the port, as well as the even higher-volume ships of the future.

 “These cranes are the biggest of the big – the largest ZPMC has ever delivered to the U.S.” said Virginia Port Authority (VPA) Board Chairman John G. Milliken. “What is unique about these cranes is their outreach, they will be able to reach across a vessel that is 26 containers wide, which is three-to-four containers wider than most cranes. We anticipated needing this capacity (of the cranes) for the ships that will be coming to Virginia 10 years from now. When that day comes The Port of Virginia will be ready.”

Once the new cranes are delivered, The Port of Virginia will have 30 ship-to-shore cranes at work in the Norfolk Harbor and the ability to service the biggest container ships sailing the Atlantic Ocean: VIG will have 12 cranes; NIT has 14; and Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT) has six. The new cranes are set for delivery in April 2019.

 “Acquiring these cranes is another important step in the larger expansion efforts underway at VIG,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the VPA. “The big ships calling the port are only getting bigger and we are charting our course for the future to ensure we will be able to accommodate the larger capacities still to come.”

 Work is underway at VIG on a $320 million expansion project that will expand the terminal’s, berth, rail operation and stack yard and bring the annual container throughput capacity to 1.2 million units. The project is one of two large-scale expansion projects that, when complete, will increase the port’s overall annual container capacity by 40 percent, or 1 million container units, by 2020.