Port Tampa Bay commissioners, during a recent monthly board meeting, approved a $24 million project with Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (ZPMC) for the acquisition of two new post-Panamax container gantry cranes.
ZPMC will fabricate and deliver both 65-ton gantry cranes, with a 174-foot out-reach, that will service up to 19 rows of containers—significantly longer reach than the current gantries, which service container vessels up to 4,000 TEU capacity and are 40-plus years old. The addition of this modern equipment will enable the port to augment the work of the older generation of cranes.
In August of this year, Port Tampa Bay announced that Gov. Rick Scott signed a funding package that gave the port supplementary funds to purchase new post-Panamax cranes in order to expand throughput capacity at the port’s container terminal. This support from the governor and Florida legislature is a $12 million boon for the state’s largest and most diversified port. Port Tampa Bay’s strategic investment in post-Panamax cranes will enable it to serve the larger container vessels being deployed by the regional and global carriers. The new cranes will be assembled in Shanghai, China, and eventually head to Port Tampa Bay, where they will be installed and operational in the first quarter of 2016.
“Port Tampa Bay is entering a higher level of competitiveness with the purchase of two new state-of-the-art gantry cranes,” Paul Anderson, port president and CEO, said. “We are extremely thankful to our board for their leadership and forward thinking, as well as Governor Scott and the Florida legislature, for their continued commitment to enhance Florida’s Seaport infrastructure. In addition, we are grateful to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for providing $12 million in funding through the State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) loan program. With these opportunities, we are furthering our status as a global gateway for trade,” he said.
Port Tampa Bay’s container terminal, currently at 40 acres, has a throughput capacity of about a quarter-million containers per year. A central focus of the port’s growth moving forward, the port authority continues to invest in container yard-related infrastructure and upland improvements in order to meet the needs of a rapidly growing consumer market in west and central Florida. At full build out, the container terminal will be a sprawling 160 acres, with one million container throughput capacity. Together, these new cranes will position Port Tampa Bay to capture cargo that has long been moving via out-of-state ports. The new cranes will provide a more efficient and enhanced supply chain alternative for fast growing I-4 corridor region.