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Raising Cranes for bigger ships

More big ships are calling U.S. ports and more containers are stacked high atop the decks of these huge vessels. That is why the Port of Oakland started raising four of its massive, 366-foot ship-to-shore cranes in 2017. After adding new legs that are 27 feet taller than the old ones, two container cranes at Oakland International Container Terminal (OICT) now soar 393 feet in the air. Two additional OICT cranes will be heightened in 2018.

The huge container cranes at the Oakland Seaport load and unload ships. The taller cranes tower over stacks of containers on megaship decks making it easier for crane operators to move the big metal boxes of goods on and off vessels.

The Port of Oakland and its partners are making a commitment to the future of shipping in Oakland by investing in and building the infrastructure to keep exports and imports moving through this global gateway. Cost of the crane-raising project is estimated at $14 million. It is part of the Port’s strategy to increase its competitive edge on the West Coast.

Heightening the Port cranes along with other concurrent maritime projects including the Seaport Logistics Complex and Cool Port Oakland, a refrigerated facility for agricultural products, will boost imports and exports, allowing the Port to continue serving the region as a jobs creator and economic engine.

What it takes to heighten a crane

Fifty trucks had to transport the sections of a massive jack to Oakland where an expert crew assembled the huge piece of equipment on the marine terminal in summer 2017. Technicians placed the enormous jack under a crane to pull the 3-million-pound unit off its guide rails. In an intricate, 90-minute procedure, the crane was then relocated to the work area by the same equipment that moves the space shuttle for NASA.

It took more than two months for engineers to brace one crane on supports, cut away its lower legs and insert the newer, longer extensions. Once the work was completed, the crane was carefully moved to its service location, tested and finally placed back into operation.

The Port of Oakland is already working the largest containerships that call North America. Raising Port cranes ensures that the Oakland Seaport is well positioned to handle the megaships heading its way. The Port and its terminal operators are considering raising even more cranes in the near future to promote greater efficiency.