• ITVI.USA
    15,466.420
    -70.120
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  • OTLT.USA
    2.742
    -0.012
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  • OTRI.USA
    20.530
    0.040
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • ITVI.USA
    15,466.420
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  • OTLT.USA
    2.742
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  • OTRI.USA
    20.530
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  • OTVI.USA
    15,439.080
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  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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American ShipperIntermodal

Florida ports buy larger cranes for container vessels

JaxPort and Port Tampa Bay will spend more than $60 million for equipment to handle bigger ships.

   Ports on each coast of Florida last week purchased new cranes to load and unload containers from larger vessels.  
   The Jacksonville Port Authority on Thursday finalized a $37.6 million contract to purchase three new super post-Panamax cranes for the Blount Island Marine Terminal, and commissioners at Port Tampa Bay approved a $24 million contract for two post-Panamax gantry cranes.
   The cranes, in both cases, will be manufactured and delivered by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, Co. Ltd. (ZMPC) in China.
   New cranes, which are scheduled to begin operating in 2016, are part of a wider effort to ready the Port of Jacksonville for larger container vessels — in excess of 6,000 TEUs — that increasingly are being utilized on routes via the Suez Canal, and which will be able to connect with northeast Asia through the Panama Canal after an expansion there is completed in 2016.  
   Congress, in legislation last summer, authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with a $684 million project to deepen the St. John’s River to 47 feet from 42 feet. The planning, engineering and design phase is underway, and the project is expected to be completed next September. A $30 million intermodal container transfer facility is scheduled to be built by the end of next year at the Dames Point Terminal.  
   The port authority said one of the Blount Island berths is being strengthened to handle the new cranes. The final design for the berth upgrades will be completed soon. The 16-month construction project is expected to start in January.
   Blount Island is a large terminal that also handles auto and heavy lift cargoes.      
   A $15 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation will help cover the cost of the new cranes. The money was included this summer in Gov. Rick Scott’s budget under the annual Strategic Port Investment Initiative. The new cranes will have a reach of 22 containers across a ship’s deck, up from the 16-container reach of the five existing 50-ton cranes at Blount Island. The terminal also has one 45-ton and two 40-ton cranes.
   JaxPort intends to purchase seven more super post-Panamax cranes during the next 10 years. (Read a full profile of JaxPort and its cargo strategy in the May feature article “JaxPort’s game plan.”)
   FDOT also provided $12 million to Port Tampa Bay towards the purchase of its cranes. The port authority is financing the balance with a $12 million loan from Florida’s state infrastructure bank. The 65-ton cranes have a reach of 19 containers. The current cranes are 40 years old and can work 4,000-TEU vessels. The port authority said the new cranes will be installed and operational in the first quarter of 2016.  
   Tampa Bay handled 42,000 TEUs last year, but officials say they hope to attract more business because of the burgeoning population in Central Florida.
   JaxPort, by comparison, handled 930,000 TEUs in 2013.

CORRECTION:
The story incorrectly stated the source of a $15 million state grant for
the Port of Jacksonville. The money for the cranes came from the
Florida Department of Transportation’s regular work budget and not from
the state’s Strategic Port Investment Initiative.

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