Retiring the Port’s Oldest Cranes
Sea-Land cranes removed after 43 years at Pier G
December 20, 2016
As 2016 draws to a close, the Port of Long Beach and International Transportation Service are saying goodbye to the oldest cranes in the harbor.
This month, workers are completing the demolition of the two Sea-Land cranes that had stood tall over Pier G since 1973.
It's the end of an era, with the two cranes — designated "G1" and “G2” — having put in tens of thousands of hours of service time during their four decades at the ITS terminal, lifting everything from the typical containers to helicopters and boats. The Paceco Corp. cranes worked the docks until last year.
The venerable lifters also saw container ships visiting Long Beach grow from carrying as few as 300 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to today’s megaships of up to 18,000 TEUs.
Port Director of Tenant Services and Operations Glenn Farren said in the mid-1980s, the cranes handled a high profile weekly service to Hawaii from Long Beach. The ship on the route, a D9-J class, had undergone "jumbo-ization" from the D9’s original 1,800-TEU configuration.
"They basically cut the ship in half, added a couple of bays and then welded it back together to produce 2,500 TEUs of capacity," said Farren, who was general manager for Hapag-Lloyd before he came to the Port in 2015. "In the early '90s we were convinced that ships would not get much bigger."
But they have — beyond most people’s imagination — and according to ITS Chief Operating Officer Sean Lindsay, the crane removal represents the company saying goodbye to the era of Panamax cranes that defined early business.
“They were a staple of the Sea-Land brand,” said Lindsay. “But the new generations of vessels require marine terminal operators to invest in huge cranes to draw business, and ITS committed to make that jump.”
ITS has installed four new gantry cranes this year with lift heights of 150 feet above the dock. The cranes, also built by Paceco, enhance ITS’ ability to work today’s taller, wider vessels more safety and efficiently.
“These new cranes are just a down payment on the investments we’re making today to be prepared for the service needs of tomorrow,” Lindsay said.
To learn about the investments ITS is making at the Pier G terminal to improve cargo flow, check out a future issue of Tie Lines.