New port cranes to be unloaded

PREPARATIONS were today being made to unload three new cranes for Britain's biggest container port after the ship carrying them was moved across the harbour.

PREPARATIONS were today being made to unload three new cranes for Britain's biggest container port after the ship carrying them was moved across the harbour.

The 244 metre long Zhen Hua 23 was moved from Landguard Terminal, where it has been for the past three weeks since it was ripped from its moorings by gales and the cranes on board it smashed into and destroyed two others on the quay.

It has now been berthed at the northern end of Trinity Terminal, where three of the five cranes it is carrying will be unstrapped and rolled off onto the quayside.

The vessel will then sail on to Thamesport to deliver its next crane.

The new cranes - which cost around £12 million - are mainly needed to update machines which are beyond their useful life because ships have grown so huge.

They will replace 1986 Morris cranes and can lift 85 tonnes, and reach across the world's largest vessels with containers stowed in rows 22 wide. There will be a period of commissioning before they are ready for use.

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For port officials it is a great relief because at last part of Landguard can again be used for loading and unloading ships.

The loss of the berths at the oldest terminal has cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and put enormous pressure on already busy Trinity Terminal, which was already operating at 80 to 90 per cent capacity consistently.

Landguard is traditionally used for the smaller ships visiting the port because it does not have deep water like Trinity.

Port officials have also been trying to bring in two new cranes to replace the two which were destroyed.

Insurance assessors and loss adjustors are liaising with port officials over the when work will start to cut up and take away the old cranes. Specialists will have to be brought in for the job.

Did you see the cranes crash to the ground? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk