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Port Counts on a New Crane

by Jeanie Senior
Portland Tribune, October 15, 2004

Loss of cargo service will deal blow to farmers, port workers and more

Although cargo container service to the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6 is shrinking, the port’s board of commissioners voted Wednesday to spend $8.2 million on a giant new container crane for T-6.

Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt called the crane’s purchase “critical to our ability to remain a competitive container port.”

The new crane, which will weigh 60 metric tons, will be delivered by mid-2006.

Its arrival will bring to three the total number of post-Panamax — a term used for the class of vessels that are too wide to pass through the Panama Canal — cranes at T-6.

Port officials said the third crane will expedite loading and unloading of ships at the port’s only container terminal.

With just two cranes, a staff report said, “cargo handling for post-Panamax vessels is inefficient and results in increased time at the berth, lost productivity and increased stevedoring” costs.

Shipping companies, on tight multiport schedules, like to keep their time at quayside confined to eight or nine hours, Wyatt said. “Their time is a very precious commodity.”

The third crane, the port staff report said, should cut the port’s cost for each post-Panamax ship docked at T-6 to $1 million a year from $1.8 million.

The crane will be built at Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Co. Ltd. in Shanghai, China, the same factory that just delivered four cranes to the Port of Tacoma for its new Evergreen Terminal. A fifth crane is slated for delivery to Tacoma, Wash., in November.

Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd., the shipping line that after mid-December will be the last container service calling at T-6, is moving to larger post-Panamax vessels, Wyatt said, and Portland needs to be ready for them.

The third crane also is viewed as an enticement to lure at least one more container carrier back to Portland.

Hyundai Merchant Marine pulled out in September, and “K” Line is ending service here in December.

Jeanie Senior
Port Counts on a New Crane
Portland Tribune, October 15, 2004

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