To keep up with the ever increasing size of cargo ships, the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been investing in “super post-Panamax” cranes to unload freight as efficiently as possible. The cranes are 15 stories tall and can reach across vessels which are about twice as wide as the Panama Canal.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the ports are investing in this machinery — at a cost of up to $11 million each — in order to stay competitive. Shipping companies may avoid ports which cannot easily accommodate their larger vessels, which now are 22 containers wide.
Moreover, when the expanded Panama Canal is completed in 2014, it is expected to handle even wider ships. The Ports of LA and Long Beach realize that ships that normally would stop at the twin ports could instead head directly to Gulf Coast and East Coast ports, who will be “scrambling to dredge channels deep enough…and cranes big enough” to capture the Canal traffic. Accordingly, the Southern California ports are already thinking about investing in even larger cranes in order to service these vessels and maintain their position as the top ports for US-bound imports from Asia.
The full article, “L.A., Long Beach ports bet on bigger cranes,” is available here.