VIDEO: Port of Virginia Gets East Coast's Largest Container Cranes

Photo: Port of Virginia

The East Coast’s largest ship-to-shore cranes have arrived at the Port of Virginia, opening its door to receive the biggest container ships in the world for years to come.

The vessel carrying the cranes, Zhen Hua 27 , sailed into Norfolk Harbor Monday with the 170-foot cranes fully assembled, making for quite a sight on the water.

The ship carried the cranes to Virginia International Gateway from China, where they were built by Shanghai-based Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. (ZPMC). The cranes, their parts, the journey to the Chesapeake, and installation at the port cost $44.8 million.

The Port of Virginia posted this time-lapse video showing the arrival of the giant cranes to VIRG:

The cranes are each 446-feet high with the boom up, and weigh in at 1,827 tons each. They will be able to handle Ultra Large Container Vessels, as well as ever larger container ships expected in 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.”

With the addition of the four new cranes, the Port of Virginia will have 30 ship-to-shore cranes at work in the Norfolk Harbor.

The cranes are among the last pieces of the VIG’s $320 million expansion, to be finished in June. The entire project will increase the port’s capacity by 40 percent.

-Meg Walburn Viviano