After a two-month journey, four new ZPMC STS cranes have arrived at the Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt terminal.
The Port of Baltimore has welcomed the new “Neo-Panamax” container cranes, but with an outreach capable of handling a 23-row vessel and a lift height above rail of 50m they can handle vessels much larger than will fit through the second set of locks at the Panama Canal.
“Baltimore is already one of the few ports on the East Coast capable of accommodating the world’s largest container ships,” Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Greg Slater said. “These new cranes will allow the Port to serve two ultra-large container ships simultaneously, boosting our capacity and giving us the opportunity to increase revenue and grow the jobs that help fuel Maryland’s economy.”
Ports America Chesapeake will operate the cranes at the Seagirt terminal. After testing and commissioning are expected to be fully operational in early 2022.
“The cranes are part of a significant expansion by Ports America Chesapeake at Seagirt to provide greater capacity and efficiency to handle anticipated increases in container volumes,” the port said. "The $166 million investment in terminal and yard upgrades includes a second, 50-foot-deep berth to accommodate mega-ships; new container handling equipment such as 15 hybrid-electric gantry cranes; and a new truck gate complex. Ports America Chesapeake also is making software and technology upgrades at Seagirt, and in February relocated a container repair depot off-dock to provide more fluid container delivery and pick-up”.
Baltimore and CSX are also moving forward with expanding the Howard Street rail tunnel for double-stack rail car clearance. “The project involves clearance improvements in the tunnel and at 22 other locations between Baltimore and Philadelphia,” the port said. “With the tunnel expansion project, Baltimore will be able to send double stacked containers by rail into the Ohio Valley and onto Chicago. In June, the project received final federal environment approval under the National Environmental Policy Act”.
The port expects the Howard Street tunnel project to increase its business by about 160,000 containers annually. At this stage the project is scheduled to be completed in 2024.