If you were on the water in Hampton Roads Friday, you may have had to look twice. Two fully-assembled, jumbo-sized cranes made their way from the Virginia Capes into the Norfolk Harbor, bound for a new home at the Port of Virginia.
It’s the final piece of the puzzle for the port’s $452 million expansion project at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). In 2018, the Port of Virginia began a terminal optimization project to upgrade and future-proof Virginia’s port facilities. The final two gigantic pieces of this project arrived at NIT’s South Berth on Friday.
The Zhen Hua 24 delivered the ship-to-shore cranes, which are among the biggest on the East Coast at 170 feet tall. When it reached the Virginia Capes, a Virginia Pilot Association boarded to guide the purpose-built ship into port.
The full project includes new cranes, container stacks, and semi-automated gantry cranes. In 2020, Bay Bulletin reported on the arrival of cranes that are the largest in the United States. These were installed at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) and can reach over Post-Panamax container ships that are 26 containers wide, which is three-to-four containers beyond the reach of most cranes.
The new cranes will go into service in late May, giving the port a total of 30 ship-to-shore cranes capable
of handling ultra-large container ships, across Virginia International Gateway, has 12 cranes, NIT North and NIT South.
According to the Port Authority, “The Port of Virginia will have an added capacity of over 1 million containers due to the expansion project at Virginia International Gateway and the terminal optimization project at NIT. These historic investments ensure that our ocean carriers, cargo owners and transportation partners will have room to expand their international business for decades to come.”