The North Carolina Ports Authority in the US has placed an order for two new panamax ship-to-shore cranes with an option to buy two more from Shanghai Zhenjua Heavy Industry (ZPMC).  

The cranes will be installed at the Port of Wilmington as part of North Carolina Ports’ ongoing infrastructure investment plan.

The plan includes installation of ten container cranes, covering over 2,650ft of space, at Port of Wilmington. 

"Our high vessel and terminal productivity will be enhanced with this addition."

To be installed with an investment of $27.4m, the newly ordered Panamax cranes are scheduled to be delivered by next year.

North Carolina Ports chairman Tom Adams said: “North Carolina Ports’ expansion enable shippers to gain unprecedented access to the US East Coast.

“The work underway will allow the Port of Wilmington to accommodate multiple post-Panamax container ships and to increase the speed and efficiency of loading and unloading the vessels.”

The port is planning to invest more than $120m to develop various infrastructures, including turning basin expansion, berth improvements as well as expansion of the container yard and the addition of new cranes, over the next few years.

North Carolina Ports executive director Paul Cozza said: “Our high vessel and terminal productivity will be enhanced with this addition, thus keeping vessels on schedule and reducing inventory and logistics costs.”

Currently, the Port of Wilmington can handle a 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of class vessel with its expanded turning basin, post-Panamax berth and post-Panamax cranes.

Installation of new cranes and other improvements will enable the port handle larger ships transiting the Panama Canal.

The North Carolina Ports Authority currently looks after Wilmington and Morehead City ports.