$5 Million Crane Reaches Port of West Sacramento

Port officials hope the mobile crane unloaded Jan. 3 will bring container cargo to the inland port for the first time.

A $5 million mobile crane made by Liebherr Nenzing Crane Co. of Austria and shipped via the Panama Canal was unloaded Jan. 3 at the Port of West Sacramento, Calif., possibly opening a new era of container service for the inland port that long depended on rice shipments from the surrounding region.

The crane also will be used to handle bulk cargo such as fertilizer and mineral ores and project cargo such as windmills and generators, Port Manager Mike Luken said in an announcement posted on the port's website.

The port, located 79 nautical miles northeast of San Francisco, is part of the M-580 Marine Highway Corridor –- part of a DOT Maritime Administration program launched in 2010 with the goal of expanding waterborne freight movements, easing congestion on busy highway corridors, and lowering trucks' air emissions.

Luken said the new Marine Highway barge service will start later this year between the ports of West Sacramento, Oakland, and Stockton and will reduce truck traffic on I-80. It is funded with a $30 million DOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.

The Port of Oakland's volume is expected to rise 65 percent by 2020, according to MARAD, which said about 25 percent of that port’s volume travels to and from the San Joaquin Valley of California, "an area already recognized for some of the country’s worst air pollution."

Tony Bizjak reported Jan. 3 in the Sacramento Bee that port officials hope the 10-story crane lifts their operation "from years of economic doldrums."

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