North Carolina Ports

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New Crane Arrives

A tugboat nudges a barge carrying two giant cranes into Berth No. 1 at the Port of Wilmington.  The crane on the right is the Ports' new Crane No. 1, a 150-ton 1984 American Crane Model 325 (NC State Ports Authority Photo)

 WILMINGTON, NC – A barge carrying two huge gantry cranes arrived at the Port of Wilmington’s Berth No. 1 Oct. 13. The larger of the two, a 1984 American Crane Model 325 with a capacity of 150 tons, will become Crane No. 1, on the Port’s northernmost Berth 1. It replaces the Port’s original gantry crane, a 25-ton Diamond crane in service for nearly 50 years.

The crane was purchased by the North Carolina State Ports Authority from the Port of Charleston, S.C., for one dollar. Transportation by barge up the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, and installation at Berth 1 added about $400,000 to the price, but with a comparable new crane costing as much as $3 million more, it was a bargain.

Increased gantry crane capacity increases the Port’s capacity to serve its customers in the bulk and breakbulk markets – including such commodities as woodpulp, steel, salt and fertilizer, and the grain for animal feed which is the key purpose of a Carolina Bulk, a joint venture between the Ports Authority and private industry which opened in May 2003.

The new crane isn’t the only moneysaver in this transaction: the retired crane was disassembled in September, with much of it sold for scrap. The old crane’s hopper, though, is being refurbished by the Port’s crane department and will also help expand the Port’s capacity to handle bulk commodities. The second crane on the barge from Charleston was purchased by Atlantic Diving & Marine, just south of the Port on the Cape Fear River.