The Port of Vancouver, Washington boasts two of the largest harbor cranes in North America. Each has a 140-metric ton capacity. The size allows reaching across a wide ship to unload heavy cargo. A 100-ton crane could have trouble unloading a Panamax-sized (wide) vessel because it cannot reach across the ship and pick up an 80-ton nacelle.
The port’s two cranes are identical. “We can use them in tandem to pick up a single 210-metric ton load,” says Alstair Smith, senior marketing director for the port. “Then it has to be moved around the facility. With assistance from the stevedores, we’ve managed to increase the amount of special-line equipment.” He explains that, “A port needs need different equipment for wind energy than regular cargo. It needs equipment such as reach stackers. The port has five, one with capacity of up to about 60 short tons, and most others with 45-ton capacities. Other port equipment includes “top picks” of heavy capacity, trailers with 100-ton capacities, and spreader bars for the cranes, rated for 120 tons. The port handled about 2,700 components in 2009 and will manage 3,400 this year.
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