They’ve landed! - Port of Oakland successfully moves two new giant container cranes ship to shore

3,000 tons and $14 million in cranes successfully transferred to dock

It was a challenging but smooth operation as the Port of Oakland moved the second of its new giant container cranes off the vessel and onto the dock on March 12, 2005 at Berth 32. The Port transferred the first crane from ship to shore on March 11 and the second one the next day. Both cranes are identical in size and as tall as a 24-story building at the apex (241 feet high). Port of Oakland’s head of the Crane Department Terry Smalley said, “It’s an amazing process moving such a valuable and mammoth-sized piece of equipment. You can imagine what a good feeling it is to know that our new super post-Panamax cranes are on the ground. This is something we have been preparing for, for a year and now they’re finally here!”

This fascinating offloading procedure involves rolling the crane off the vessel on a specially built rail bridge that connects the ship and the dock. Once the crane is on the bridge landside, then it is lifted up by using several high-pressure crane jacks. The crane jacks can lift 400 tons each and a pair of the high-pressure crane jacks is used for each of the four legs of the crane. Then the sets of temporary wheels that were used to roll the crane off the ship are removed. The jacks are used to lower the crane onto another temporary rail ramp that is perpendicular to the offload rails. The permanent wheels on the crane are already in proper position for this placement. Finally the crane is rolled down the ramp and onto the permanent crane rail that runs parallel to the dock’s edge.


The cranes will be able to accommodate the newer generation of container ships currently being used in the maritime industry. They have the ability to load or discharge over thirty-five cargo containers per hour. The landed cost of one of these cranes (including design, purchase, shipping, and delivery at the Port of Oakland) is approximately $7 million. Each one weighs about 1,500 tons.

The new Port of Oakland cranes are among some of the largest in the world in the category of what is called super post-Panamax cranes. They are built to handle the newer and wider vessels being built for the maritime industry. These giant cranes have excellent outreach with a boom that can extend as many as 23 containers wide. The addition of these two new cranes to the port inventory of super post-Panamax cranes brings the total to 19.

Super post-Panamax cranes mean mega-ships at Oakland. This week the Port of Oakland welcomes one of the world’s largest container ships - the 8,200 TEU CMA CGM Hugo. The Hugo will be arriving at the Oakland International Container Terminal where there are already six super post-Panamax cranes in place.

The newly built CMA CGM Hugo is owned by the French company, Compagnie Maritime d’Affretement. It is 1,096 feet long, longer than three football fields; 140.4 feet wide, 30 feet wider than the Panama Canal; with a draft of 47.6 feet when fully loaded. The Hugo is able to carry enough cargo to completely fill a one million-square-foot regional shopping center with TVs, toys, clothes, shoes, and other products stacked eight feet high.