New Cranes Continue Port of Baltimore's Expansion

Officials celebrated the delivery of four Super-Post Panamax cranes from China on June 20. Installed in a new 50-foot berth, they will be operational by September.

Maryland's governor and officials at the Port of Baltimore celebrated a milestone event at 6 p.m. June 20 when a ship inbound from China docked. The Zhen Hua 13 had carried four 400-foot-tall Super Post Panamax cranes across the Indian and Atlantic oceans, and the final hurdles overcome on the voyage were narrowly passing under two bridges, the Bay Bridge spanning the Chesapeake Bay and the Key Bridge farther north, earlier that day.

The electrically powered cranes are the largest used in the maritime industry. They will be installed in a newly built container berth and will be operational by September. Baltimore's port is one of only two on the East Coast with a 50-foot berth and a 50-foot channel, allowing it to accommodate some of the largest container ships in the world, including ships that will transit the Panama Canal after its current expansion is completed.

"The arrival of these huge cranes is a momentous day for our state and for the Port of Baltimore," said Gov. Martin O'Malley. "When we signed a 50-year agreement with our private sector partner Ports America Chesapeake in 2010, we did so with an eye on growing good-paying, blue-collar jobs at our port. Our partnership is one that will ensure the future of the Port of Baltimore and provide stability for port workers."

The port handled 15 percent more cargo in 2011 than the year before and set seven major cargo records in the process, according to the Maryland Port Administration.

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