The Port of Virginia will receive four new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes on Monday as the latest step in its $320 million capacity expansion project set for completion in June, officials said Wednesday.
Once operational, these 170-foot-tall cranes will be the largest on the U.S. East Coast and will be able to service the ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) calling at Virginia International Gateway (VIG) for decades to come, the Norfolk, Va.-based port said.
This delivery marks the completion of the port's 2017 approval of a $44.8 million order from Shanghai, China-based Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (ZPMC). Under terms of the contract, ZPMC is set to provide the cranes, parts, delivery, and installation, including their arrival aboard ZPMC's Zhen Hua 27ship next week.
The expansion comes just weeks after the port said it had set a new record for the amount of cargo volume handled in a single month, processing more than 270,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in November.
The remainder of the expansion project includes upgrades to the facility's berth, rail operation, and stack yard and will bring its annual container throughput capacity to 1.2 million units. Combined with another expansion, the work will increase the port's overall annual container capacity by 40 percent, or 1 million container units, by 2020, port officials said.
"These cranes are the biggest of the big - the largest ZPMC has ever delivered to the U.S.," Virginia Port Authority (VPA) Board Chairman John G. Milliken said in 2017, following the port's approval of the crane order. "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."
Overall, the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and its subsidiary Virginia International Terminals LLC (VIT) own and operate four general cargo facilities: Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Newport News Marine Terminal and the Virginia Inland Port in Warren County.