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Giant cranes arrive after epic voyage

PUBLISHED: 10:54 17 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

AFTER a nine-week journey by sea across the world's most treacherous oceans, millions of pounds worth of new cranes arrived at Britain's biggest port today.

AFTER a nine-week journey by sea across the world's most treacherous oceans, millions of pounds worth of new cranes arrived at Britain's biggest port today.

It was a perilous trip for the cranes, which had to be fitted with special braces and strapped on the deck to ensure they held firm during the worst weather and in some of the heaviest seas imaginable.

But today they arrived safely at Felixstowe and were berthed alongside the quays in the calm waters of Harwich Harbour.

There is still some work to do before the six rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) and two ship-to-shore gantry cranes (SSGCs) are ready for action.

The cranes, which have been transported by sea from China, will be unloaded, this weekend and then have their sea-bracings removed.

They will then be checked and fitted out, and have full commissioning tests.

The ship-to-shore cranes will be positioned at the northern end of Trinity Terminal, and will be the largest in the port, bought to unload the world's biggest container ships.

They have a lift height of 37 metres above the quay, and heavy lift capacity of 85 tonnes. Each is capable of reaching across containers stowed 22 wide, and is equipped with a twin-lift capability.

The SSCGs and RTGs are part of a programme of significant investment in equipment at the port in recent months ready for its next expansion scheme.

The new RTGs will be capable of stacking containers one over five high, and straddling seven wide plus a roadway.

The existing four-wheel Paceco machines at the southern end of Trinity Terminal will be replaced by new 16-wheel machines. In mid-2001 eight RTGs, manufactured by Fantuzzi Reggiane in Sicily were added.

The new 16-wheel machines increase the stacking height at the southern end of Trinity Terminal from three to five containers, boosting capacity by 60,000 standard-sized boxes per year.

The new cranes were made by Zhenhua Port Machinery Company (ZPMC) of Shanghai. Four more RTGs will arrive next month.

The cranes means the port can boast a total of 78 RTGs and 25 SSGCs. It also has options for further RTGs and SSGCs with ZPMC.

The electrical systems for both types of cranes have been manufactured by Siemens in Holland and are based on AC motors, powered by thyristor inverters.

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