The heavy-load vessel Happy Buccaneer berthed Monday at Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) with the first group of six rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) that are the centerpieces of the $375 million capacity expansion project underway at that terminal.
The Happy Buccaneer’s arrival signals the start of an 18-month cycle that will see the delivery of 60 new cranes to NIT. In January 2018, construction on the NIT expansion got underway and the project will be complete by mid-year 2020. The work will expand NIT’s annual throughput capacity by 400,000 container units.
The vessel is safely on berth and pre-offloading work is underway. The RMGs will be off-loaded, mounted on rails, taken through some minor assembly, tested and then put into service by the end of September, when the first three of 30 new container stacks at NIT will be ready for use.
“This is the stage when things begin to come to life at NIT,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “Our goal is to put this equipment to work as quickly and as safely as we can, just like we are doing at VIG. As these stacks go online, we will begin capitalizing on the new capacity and efficiency we’re creating. The end result of our effort will be new high-performing network of terminals that will attract economic investment in Virginia and spur job creation across the Commonwealth.”
In November 2016, the port finalized a $217 million contract with Konecranes to build and deliver 86 RMGs. Roanoke-based TMEIC is supplying the technology systems that will drive and control the cranes. The contract is the largest one-time RMG order for in industry history.
“We are very pleased with the progress being made at NIT and by 2020, this phase of our expansion will be complete,” Reinhart said. “We’re building a safe, modern port capable of handling the biggest ships in the Atlantic trade and all of the pieces for success are being assembled.
“The work at VIG will be done by next summer, our 55-foot dredging project has gotten federal approval, so we are beginning the preliminary engineering and design work, and we are on-budget and on schedule here (NIT). The hard working going on here today is creating a sustainable port that will have decades of growth ahead of it.”
In June, The Port of Virginia® accepted the last load of 26 new RMGs at Virginia International Gateway (VIG), where $320 million is being invested to expand cargo capacity and operations. The new cranes will support cargo operations in 13 new container stacks.
Source: Port of Virginia