The GPA welcomes more Konecranes RTGs from Poland, but US ports are nervous over pending tariffs on new cranes from China.
This week the GPA welcomed another five new Konecranes RTGs to its fleet in Savannah. The five new machines will be joined by another five in July, and two in September as the GPA moves to keep its capacity ahead of demand. The batch of 5 RTGs arrived fully assembled and are expected to be commissioned by July 3.
"These new RTGs will keep our vessel services and yard operations world-class," said Griff Lynch, GPA’s Executive Director. "The added capacity will maintain low turn-times and help expand and expedite intermodal cargo throughout the U.S. Southeast and Midwest regions."
The cranes are diesel electric with a lifting capacity 50 long tons, stacking one-over-five high and 6+1 wide. Though they are not fully electric the GPA stressed that they are more fuel efficient thanks to a variable speed diesel genset. “The cranes’ efficient engines automatically run at the lowest revolutions per minute needed to match the varying weight of containers. Earlier generations ran at a fixed 1,800 rpm regardless of load conditions, but the new engines run in a range from 800 to 2,100 rpm. As a result, the new machines consume about one-third less fuel during typical RTG operations”.
Will McKnight, GPA’s Board Chairman-elect, said the GPA’s expansion plans include growing its fleet of ship-to-shore cranes from 30 to 42 over the next decade. Like other US ports the GPA is deeply concerned about the Trump administration’s move to include container cranes in the next round of tariffs it plans to impose on Chinese imports.
Container cranes were included in a previous preliminary list of goods that are now subject to tariffs, but the AAPA, ports and other organisations successfully lobbied to have them removed. Container cranes are again, however, included in a list of goods that will be subject to a new 25% tariff that was released on 17 May, and ports are fighting hard again.
In his submission to the US International Trade Commission Griff Lynch said the proposed 25% tariff “will have a substantially negative impact on the GPA’s plans to expand the capacity and efficiency of Port of Savannah. We are expecting the delivery of the first three of six STS cranes in January 2020, with the remainder arriving in spring of 2020. The total order of six cranes is expected to cost $70 million, and the potential of $17.5 million in additional costs due to the tariff would present a serious challenge to completion of that order. It would also hinder our plans for additional future purchases of these large, purpose-built cranes required for our expanding operations. There is no domestic source for these cranes and, indeed, there is no manufacturing facility for these cranes except in China”.
Written comments on the proposed tariffs are open until 2 July.