The Port of Virginia in the US has entered a contract worth roughly $44.8m to purchase four new ship-to-shore cranes.
The scope of the contract covers the cost, parts, and delivery of the cranes, which are currently under development by China’s Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC).
It also includes various specialised cargo-handling components for the cranes, as well as an option to buy two additional ship-to-shore units for use at the port’s Norfolk International Terminals (NIT).
The deal was finalised after the Virginia Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved the purchase's funding package last month.
The new1,827t cranes will be installed as part of the port's $320m Virginia International Gateway (VIG) expansion, and will be able to handle ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) and other future higher-volume ships.
ZPMC is scheduled to deliver the cranes and related equipment by April 2019.
Virginia Port Authority Board chairman John Milliken said: “These cranes are the biggest of the big, the largest ZPMC has ever delivered to the US.
“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 ten years from now. When that day comes, the Port of Virginia will be ready.”
Representatives from Virginia port are expected to visit the ZPMC facility to ensure that the cranes are developed to meet the port’s specific requirements.
The Port of Virginia will operate a total of 30 ship-to-shore cranes in the Norfolk Harbour following the completion of the deal, while VIG will have 12 cranes, and NIT and Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT) will feature 14 and six cranes each respectively.