Six oversized STS cranes to Savannah

BigLift Shipping's heavy lift vessels mv BigLift Baffin and mv BigLift Barentsz transported six oversized Konecranes ship-to-shore (STS) cranes from Nantong, CN, to Savannah, USA.

Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) received the first three new STS cranes – the largest of their kind in the world - on December 8th, 2019. BigLift Shipping has executed numerous shipments for Konecranes over the years and this shipment is another testimony to the continuous, strong relationship between the two companies.

The first three cranes were transported by mv BigLift Baffin from Nantong, where they had been built. With an average service speed of 12 knots, the route around South Africa to Savannah took 54 days. Getting the cranes off the ship on the berth and finally, in the rails was a challenging and complicated operation. The most influential and essential aspect of the operation was the tide, which varies within a range of up to 2 metres at the Savannah Front River. The BigLift MC vessels are unique; with a 12,000m3/hour ballast capacity the vessels are able to compensate for the tidal movement and keep their main deck parallel to the quay. The discharge operation took three days to complete.

Everything had been well prepared for the successful offloading of the wide cranes onto the dock. A dedicated “hard” spot on the pier was chosen and temporary rails were laid right by the vessel. Each crane was pulled off the vessel with two winches, then lifted up one side at a time to rotate its bogies, and then put back down in its final rails. Finally, the whole upper part of the crane, weighing over 800 mt, was raised with four Konecranes lifting winches. During the sea voyage, the upper parts of the cranes had been resting on the sill beams to anticipate the height restriction of the Savannah River Bridge.

Once fully installed, the new 1,369 mt cranes are approximately 130 metres wide and tower some 96 metres over the water. These gigantic cranes are capable of handling containers from Super Post-Panamax vessels which have a width fo about 22 containers wide. The state-of-the art cranes were designed in Finland and built in China. Mv BigLift Barentsz – the sister vessel of mv BigLift Baffin – delivered the other three STS cranes to Savannah in March 2020.