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American Shipper

NEWS FLASH: Port of Virginia places massive order for yard cranes

The port authority’s board of commissioners approved two contracts worth $217 million for 86 rail-mounted gantry cranes, with 60 of the cranes going to Norfolk International Terminals and the additional 26 cranes going to Virginia International Gateway.

   The Virginia Port Authority’s board of commissioners on Tuesday approved two contracts worth $217 million with Finnish manufacturer Konecranes for 86 rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) used to stack and transfer ocean containers.
    Konecranes said the purchase marks the largest one-time order for automated stacking cranes (ASCs) in the company’s history.
   The first 60 pieces of remote-controlled equipment are for Norfolk International Terminals (NIT), where planning and preliminary site work has begun for a semi-automated container yard with RMGs, which will mirror the yard currently in operation at the Virginia International Gateway facility in nearby Portsmouth. The RMGs will replace straddle carriers that currently transfer containers between the stacks and drayage trucks.
   The second tranche of 26 RMGs is for the Virginia International Gateway terminal, where the port authority recently extended its lease through 2065 in exchange for the private sector owners financing the second-phase of development, to include 13 more automated stacks in the container yard.
   The Virginia state legislature earlier this year approved a $350 million bond issue to finance the crane project, as well as new truck gates and a reconfiguration of the layout at NIT.
   Delivery of the cranes will begin in 2018 and continue in phases until 2020, the Virginia Port Authority said.
   “Once the construction is done and these cranes are in place and operational, our port will have the capacity to process an additional 1 million containers annually, have the channel depth to handle the biggest ships in the Atlantic trade and double-stack rail service offered by Norfolk Southern and CSX to some of the nation’s most important markets,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.
   Roanoke, Va.-based TMEIC will provide the automation technology that drives the units.
   The Virginia International Terminal, originally built in 2007 by APM Terminals and sold to investors two years ago, was the first port facility in the United States to operate automated cargo handling equipment.
   Manufacturing of key components will take place in Finland, while the steel structures will be fabricated elsewhere in Europe. The components and structures will then be loaded onto vessels and delivered to the Port of Virginia, where they will be assembled.
   Konecranes is searching for a site where some pre-assembly and parts storage can take place, according to the port authority.
   The combined cost of the expansion projects is $670 million.
   Final contract terms for the cranes still need to be concluded.
   Read more about the Port of Virginia’s strategic and operational plans for growth in the special feature, “Port of Virginia kicks investment plan into high gear.”

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