Auckland’s port has just become home to the largest cranes in Australasia.
Three massive container-lifting cranes, each one larger than central Auckland’s HSBC building, completed the final leg of their month long journey from Shanghai, China, to Auckland on Friday morning.
The special delivery was the culmination of 20 years worth of preparation, and a $60 million investment.
The cranes, which stood 82.3 metres tall and weighed 2100 tonnes each, docked at Ports of Auckland in Mechanics Bay after 9am.
From there they will be offloaded onto the Ferguson North Wharf using specially designed rail tracks.
Ports of Auckland boss Tony Gibson said they were the most technically advanced cranes on the market.
“They lift four containers at once and they can lift containers out of the hull of a ship at different heights – which is a first in the world”
He said the cranes’ capacity would greatly increase of the port’s ability to load and unload ships.
“They weigh a massive 2100 tonnes each – about 1000 tonnes heavier than our existing cranes.”
The cranes were manufactured by Chinese multinational engineering company ZPMC, especially for Auckland’s port.
They could stack containers on ships 9 high. New Zealand’s current largest cranes can stack containers only 7 high.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff said with such precious cargo, it was lucky the ship had not passed through a typhoon.
“This means that we have the most technologically advanced cranes and we can cope with the largest ship coming to our port.”
He said the upgrade was good for Ports of Auckland, and therefore a “bonus” for the ratepayers.
“Ports of Auckland is of course owned by Auckland council, so its dividends feed directly into the ratepayers.”
Port’s spokesman Matt Ball said the cranes were needed to keep up with Auckland’s growth.
“More people in the city means more freight. The ships that bring our goods from overseas are getting bigger, so we need to make sure we can handle them.
“With these new cranes, and the new deep water berth they will sit on, we’ll be able to handle the biggest ships coming to New Zealand.”
CRANES BY NUMBERS
– 82.3m tall, current cranes are 69.2m.
– 2100 tonnes, current cranes are 1300 tonnes.
– Able to lift four containers at once, current cranes can lift two.
– Able to be remotely operated – a New Zealand first.
– Able to lift containers stacked at different heights.
– Can reach 21 containers across, current cranes can reach 19 across.