THE Port of Tauranga’s newest and largest container crane has been moved into position – its ninth ship-to-shore gantry crane. The crane arrived in parts from Ireland in mid-February on a special purpose delivery ship. It was assembled on site and moved several hundred metres onto the berth in a 48 hour operation.

The Port of Tauranga is New Zealand’s largest port both in terms of total cargo volume and in terms of container throughput with container volumes exceeding 950,000 TEU.

Further testing will be undertaken now that the new crane is in position and it is expected to start work next week, just 10 weeks since it arrived.

The new crane will be able to load and unload container ships up to 49 metres or 19 containers wide, compared with the 18 container reach of the port’s other large cranes.

Port of Tauranga chief executive, Mark Cairns, says the project was a great achievement by the Port of Tauranga team, Rich Rigging and crane manufacturers Liebherr.

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The crane was mostly assembled prior to the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown and commissioning and testing was supported remotely by engineers at the Liebherr factory in Ireland.

“The crane needs to be moved into place now to free up the construction zone for much-needed storage space for containerised cargo,” Mr Cairns said.

“It is also safer for the crane to be anchored onto the rails on the berth in case of stormy weather.”

Despite crane operations at the container terminal being restricted during the COVID-19 lock-down, a net crane rate of 35.8 moves per hour was achieved over the past week, higher than the last reported national average of 29.1.

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