New deep-water berth and tallest low profile cranes will be in place for larger ships to serve New England

The multi-year effort by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) to modernize and expand Conley Container Terminal marks a major milestone - three new low profile Neo-Panamax cranes have begun their journey to Boston on a ship from Shanghai, China. The cranes will arrive at Conley Terminal this summer and will be operational this fall. These cranes, along with a new berth and a deepened Boston Harbor, enable Boston to handle larger ships, more New England importers and exporters to connect with the global marketplace, and facilitate future growth at Conley Terminal.



Two of the cranes are 205 feet tall with a lifting height of 160 feet and can reach 22 container rows wide, and are the tallest low profile cranes in the world. Another crane on the way is 145 feet tall with a lifting height of 100 feet. These new cranes will efficiently service larger container ships holding 12,000-14,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). Larger cranes are needed due to the shipping industry’s shift toward larger vessels that hold more containers and the 2016 expansion of the Panama Canal to accommodate them. The journey from China to Boston will take approximately two months and the public can track the cranes’ location on the Port of Boston’s Twitter account: @PortofBos.

“This significant milestone would not have been possible without the support of our local, state, and federal partners. The Port being big ship ready comes at a critical time as the region’s economy recovers from the impacts of the pandemic,” said Massport CEO Lisa Wieland. “Massport’s investment in the future of Conley Terminal shows our commitment to support the New England importers and exporters that rely on the Port, as well as the thousands of workers across the Port.”

Nearly $850M in investment has gone into the Port in recent years to prepare Conley Terminal to be big ship ready in order to support the regional economy. Significant support came from the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, the Baker-Polito Administration, and the Massachusetts Legislature. The Boston Harbor Dredging Project is nearing completion and a new 50-foot deep berth was built to support the new cranes. Additional improvements to modernize Conley Terminal have recently been completed or are in progress, including the creation of the Butler Freight Corridor, new rubber-tire gantries, expanded container storage, and other landside improvements. Conley is the only full-service terminal in New England.

The new Berth 10 is 1,250 feet long and dredged to 50 feet so the new cranes can efficiently service larger container ships. Currently, Conley is designed for 5,000 TEU ships, and can handle ships up to 10,000 TEUs under certain conditions.

“The investments we’re making will significantly enhance our capabilities to handle more cargo and increase our productivity so that Conley can be competitive in the future and allow for continued growth,” said Massport Port Director Mike Meyran. “We want businesses to know that we are ‘Big Ship Ready’ and we want to attract new direct services to expand the global offerings for our customers throughout New England.”

With the new cranes and berth, Boston will be in a position to offer some relief to an already stressed industry, and allow more New England businesses to take advantage of the local service. Throughout these unprecedented times, the Port of Boston has been a reliable supply chain partner and Conley Terminal remains virtually congestion-free while still offering personalized customer service. Conley currently has an average truck turnaround time of only 30 minutes.

Two weekly services currently call Conley Terminal: The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) provides direct service from North Europe to Boston, with connections to Latin America, the Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia, and the OCEAN Alliance (COSCO Shipping, OOCL, Evergreen, CMA CGM) provides direct service from North Asia. A diverse mix of commodities are shipped through the Port, including furniture, recycled fibers, seafood, wine and spirits, apparel, footwear, and auto parts.

Big Ship Ready Projects

Boston Harbor Dredging - Completed by ‘22

This project is a $350 million collaboration between the Army Corps of Engineers, the Commonwealth and Massport. To accommodate larger ships, the Outer Harbor Channel was dredged from 40 to 51 feet; the Main Shipping Channel, from 40 to 47 feet; and the Reserve Channel, where Conley Container Terminal is located, from 40 to 47 feet. Additionally, the Army Corps expanded the Harbor’s Turning Basin to 1,725 feet. This depth allows Conley to handle 12,000-14,000 TEU vessels.

Neo-Panamax cranes - Arrive this Summer, Ready in Fall ‘21

Massport, with funding support from the Commonwealth, purchased three Neo Panamax low-profile ship-to-shore cranes with a max lifting height of 160 feet and an outreach of 22 containers wide.

New 50 ft. deep Berth 10 - Completed in 2020

The new berth was built to accommodate larger ships and support the three new cranes.

Other projects to modernize Conley Terminal

New RTGs - Completed in 2019

Massport purchased four new rubber-tired gantries (RTGs) that move shipping containers landside.

Expanded refrigerated container storage - Completed in 2019

Conley has a new reefer rack system designed to accommodate growth and create a more efficient use of space.

Thomas Butler Freight Corridor - Completed in 2017

A dedicated truck roadway that provides a more efficient route for trucks to get to and from the interstate and takes trucks off residential streets. The $75 million project also included the creation of community green space.

Other various completed projects include terminal improvements totaling $103 million.