Port of Virginia eyes biggest boxships, orders new cranes

Written by Railway Age Staff
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The Port of Virginia will purchase four new ship-to-shore cranes as part of the $320-million expansion of Virginia International Gateway (VIG).

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

The cranes, which the port said will be the largest of their kind in the United States, will be able to handle the Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCV) currently calling the port – and 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 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 for the ships that will be coming to Virginia 10 years from now. When that day comes the Port of Virginia will be ready.”

The port handled 234,230 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in July, an increase of 7.5% from the same month in 2016, and a record for July. For the year total TEU volumes are up 8.1%, including containers, up 8.5%; rail volumes, up 5.6%; truck volume, up 9%, and barge traffic, up 30%.

Both Norfolk Southern and CSX oproivide on-dock rail service.

The contract also includes the purchase of specialized cargo handling components for the cranes and an option on two additional ship-to-shore cranes for use at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT).

Delivery of the new cranes is scheduled for April, 2019. At that time the Port of Virginia will have 30 ship-to-shore cranes at work in Norfolk Harbor to service the biggest container ships transiting the Atlantic Ocean: VIG will have 12 cranes; NIT, 14, and Portsmouth Marine Terminal, six.

The crane purchase comes as part of VIG’s $320-million project to expand the terminal’s berth, rail operation and stack yard and raise annual container throughput capacity to 1.2 million units.

The project is one of two large-scale expansions designed to increase the port’s overall annual container capacity by 40%, or 1 million TEUs, by 2020.







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