Nov 26, 2020

Crane to take port capability to new heights

Crane to take port capability to new heights Liebherr crane components being loaded in Ireland bound for Port of Townsville.

A new ship-to-shore crane standing almost 100m tall is set to boost capacity at Port of Townsville as part of a $30 million upgrade to its multi-user cargo handling facility.

The Liebherr Super Post Panamax Ship-to-Shore crane is the first ship-to-shore crane purchased by the Port of Townsville since the 1970s and is due to arrive tomorrow.

Once assembled, the crane is set to dwarf Townsville’s current tallest structure, the CBD’s ‘sugar shaker’ Grand Chancellor Hotel, by about 24m, Port of Townsville says.

It brings the capability to lift two 20-foot shipping containers at once, equating to 70 tonnes.

Port of Townsville infrastructure and environment general manager Marissa Wise said the assembly of the ship-to-shore crane would support up to 15 full-time jobs for locals during construction.

“Contractors from Townsville-based Universal Cranes will support the assembly, which will take several months, and include positioning the crane on the wharf and completing a series of safety and operational checks,” Ms Wise said.

An open tender process was conducted before appointing a supplier. With only a handful of companies worldwide manufacturing this type of crane, and none in Australia, the contract was awarded to Liebherr.

“The new crane will increase berth capacity by around 20 per cent, greatly improving loading and unloading time for vessels servicing our region,” Ms Wise said.

“Combined with the port’s Berth 4 wharf upgrade completed in 2018 and the Container and Cargo Terminal opened earlier this year, the crane will enable growth and handling efficiencies in containerised cargo, general cargo and project cargo.

“Investments like this one are vital for optimising the port’s assets to ensure we keep up with Queensland’s growing freight demands and prepare for the larger vessels the port will be able to accommodate following completion of the Channel Upgrade project in 2023.’’

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said Townsville’s new multi-user cargo handling facility was part of a $175 million State investment to bolster North Queensland’s supply chain.

The new crane’s arrival came as a $100 million upgrade of the North Coast rail line between Townsville and Rockhampton reached the halfway point, he said.

Four of eight new passing loops on the north coast line are now complete and will enable travel for freight trains up to 950m in length – an increase of more than 45 per cent on the current 650m limit.

Mr Bailey said also $44 million in Bruce Highway upgrades at Palm Creek had been completed seven months ahead of schedule.

“Investing in North Queensland’s ports, rail lines and key freight routes equals jobs – jobs crucial to Queensland’s plan for economic recovery,” Mr Bailey said.

The new ship-to-shore crane is expected to be ready for use by April 2021.

Liebherr Super Post Panamax Ship-to-Shore crane fast facts
  • Twin lift: 65t (will be limited to 50t on Berth 3) Hook beam: 70t
  • Almost 100m tall
  • 1250kW of power
  • Ability to lift two 20-foot containers
  • Outreach of 44m from quayline
  • 40m clearance under the boom