Journey of New RMGs Gets Underway
The heavy-load vessel Happy Buccaneer left the port of Gdynia, Poland, last week bound for Virginia laden with six new rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs). The shipment signal the start of a two-year cycle that will see the delivery of 86 new cranes that are the centerpieces of the expansion taking place at The Port of Virginia.
The inaugural delivery is heading for Virginia International Gateway (VIG). Once the vessel is safely on berth, the units will be off-loaded, mounted on rails, taken through some minor assembly, tested and then put into service by the end of April, when the first of 13 new container stacks at VIG will be ready for use.
“We are closing in on a critical milestone, which is the delivery of this first group of cranes,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “From this point forward we will be receiving regular deliveries of these RMGs to VIG and then it will transition across the river to Norfolk International Terminals (NIT). This is also the starting point where we can begin the process of recouping the investment being made at VIG. As the stacks go online, we will begin capitalizing on the new capacity and efficiency we’re creating.”
In November 2016, the port finalized a $217 million contract with Konecranes for that company to build and deliver 86 RMGs. Roanoke-based TMEIC is supplying the technology for the operation systems that control the cranes’ functions. The contract is the largest one-time order for automated stacking cranes (ASCs) in industry history.
Following this first delivery of RMGs, which is scheduled for the end of January, subsequent deliveries will take place and the new container stacks will go into service at intervals through November. In total, 26 new RMGs will be delivered to VIG and the remaining 60 will go to NIT. The expansion at VIG will be complete by spring 2019.
In February 2017, construction on the $320 million VIG expansion got underway. The work includes adding 13 new container stacks to the container stack yard – supported by 26 new RMGs – lengthening the berth, installation of four new ship-to-shore container cranes, doubling the size of the rail operation and adding new lanes to the truck gate. Ultimately, the work will increase the annual throughput capacity of the terminal to 1.2 million containers.
“This is an exciting and an historic moment for this port,” Reinhart said. “Our planning and focus on building a modern port capable of handling the biggest ships in the Atlantic trade for years to come is coming to fruition. The end result is a port that will be sustainable and have the capacity to grow for decades.”
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