Oakland Invests to Welcome Mega-Ships


Port of Oakland will raise up to six 366-foot-tall cranes 27-feet higher to make it easier to load and unload mega-ships with containers stacked high above deck.

The $14 million-to-$21 million project will begin in Spring 2017 at its largest marine terminal.

Longer legs will be installed on four-to-six cranes at Oakland International Container Terminal, which handles 70% of Oakland’s cargo. 

Last winter it received the 1,300-foot long Benjamin Franklin, the largest container ship ever to visit the US.

Port of Oakland will pay to raise the cranes and terminal operator SSA will repay the Port over the life of its Oakland lease.

The cranes will be raised by a massive jack, which lifts the entire structure off the terminal deck, with portions of the original crane legs then cut away and new leg extensions placed underneath and secured.

View all of PTI's technical papers on Mega-Ships

The terminal said it hopes to begin the project in April, with each one taking nine weeks to raise.  Completion is scheduled for the second quarter of 2018 depending on how many cranes are raised. This will also determine the total cost of the project.

Jacking equipment is already en route to Oakland and up to 40 tractor-trailers will be used to transport the equipment.  Steel leg extensions are being fabricated in China where the cranes were manufactured.

John Driscoll, Port of Oakland Maritime Director, said: “We’re already working the largest ships to call in North America.

“By raising the height of ship-to-shore cranes, we make certain that we’re ready as more megaships head our way.”

Oakland isn't the only US port preparing for mega-ships. Port of Virginia aims to accommodate vessels in the 12,000-plus TEU range after it completes two large-scale projects and APM Terminals is increasing its Port Elizabeth investment plans from US$70 million to $200 million in preparation for ultra large container ships (ULCSs).

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