Made in Kerry, but playing a crucial role in industry, business and commerce throughout the globe, Killarney-based Liebherr Container Cranes have been back in the spotlight thanks to a major operation that has taken place in Cobh Harbour.
Liebherr personnel have provided three massive scale ship-to -shore container cranes, designed in Killarney but assembled in and shipped from Cobh for a 10-day voyage the USA where the cranes will enter service at Maher Terminals LLC at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Dominating the Rushbrook skyline in Cobh, the three megamax ship-to-shore container cranes were assembled in the old dockyard and they are amongst the largest in the world. They have embarked on a 10-day sea voyage on board a specialist vessel, the BigLiftBaffin, before arriving at their final destination, Maher Terminals LLC at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Liebherr secured the order for the cranes in 2021 and since then its expert teams of engineers and designers have been working hard with customers and partners to bring the project to completion.
The cranes were designed and built at Liebherr Container Cranes Ltd. in Killarney and, following manufacture, the main crane components were transported by road to the Port of Fenit and onwards by sea to Cobh where assembly began earlier this year.
This is the third group of Liebherr ship-to shore-container cranes to have shipped from Cobh. Liebherr has previously shipped three STS cranes to Puerto Rico and a further two to the Port of Hull in the UK but these are the largest STS to ship from the Cork base to date. When they enter service in a number of months, they will work on megamax size container vessels and will move many millions of containers over the course of their lifetime.
Big cranes, clever engineering, ship-to-shore container cranes are often transported in large preassembled components for assembly on site at the destination port. They can also be shipped fully assembled, particularly when assembly space is limited at the customer’s site, which is the case in this instance.
However, fully assembled transport logistics is complicated by the clearance requirements under the Bayonne Bridge, which connects Bayonne in New Jersey with Staten Island in New York.
Before arriving at Maher Terminals, the cranes and vessel need to pass under the bridge, which has a clearance of 66m but a fully assembled crane on board a vessel can be significantly higher than this.
The preferred solution is to transport the cranes partly assembled with the upper structure – the boom, beam and A-frame – resting on the lower structure for the duration of the voyage, and restore the cranes to their working configuration when they arrive at Maher Terminals, using a winch-up system.
When the vessel arrives in America, it will anchor off Sandy Hook, where final preparations for passing under the bridge will be made. The vessel will wait until tidal conditions are optimum for clearance under the Bayonne Bridge.
Once the cranes pass under the bridge, they will complete the short journey to Maher terminals, roll off the delivery vessel, where winch-up of the lower structure to the final operational configuration will be completed.
Once commissioned, the cranes will enter service alongside eight existing Liebherr STS cranes already at the port. Maher Terminals has been a customer of Liebherr since 2011, when they placed their first order.
Maher is a champion of Sustainable Port Infrastructure and the Liebherr STS cranes are a key component of the company’s comprehensive energy and environmental management programme. The cranes will assist Maher in becoming a Net Zero emissions facility by 2040 and Liebherr are proud to play its part in this bold initiative.
The Liebherr STS cranes include many additional environmental benefits. Manufactured using high tensile steel and with a lattice main beam and boom, the resulting lightweight and stiff crane requires less energy to operate than traditional cranes.
The crane drives include an active front end, which returns electricity to the grid, whilst the Liebherr Liduro drive systems optimises energy requirements, and power management.
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Liebherr’s Managing Director-Sales, Gerry Bunyan, remarked: “With these latest technically advanced machines working alongside the other Liebherr STS cranes at the Port, we are confident Maher Terminals will be able to offer improved services and faster turnarounds to their customers and continue to grow as North America’s largest marine container terminal.”
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