Port Canaveral's giant new cargo crane can handle everything from containers to rocket boosters

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray says the port's new mobile harbor crane will provide more flexibility for the port's cargo operations.

"We can use it for just about any type of cargo that comes" into the port — from containers to SpaceX Falcon 9 boosters, Murray said.

Murray said the just-arrived, 270-foot tall, 1.19 million-pound crane — the largest mobile harbor crane in the United States — will be operational in the second quarter of 2019, News 6 partner Florida Today reports. The crane, built by German-based Liebherr Group, has a maximum lifting capacity of 154 tons.

"We're very, very excited to have this crane in the port," Murray said. "This kind of equipment gives the port wide-ranging deployment options to service current and future cargo demands. It's a great asset.”

The crane’s initial home will be at North Cargo Berth 5. Eventually, the crane also will be used at North Cargo Berths 6 and 8 where needed.  

The $6.2 million acquisition cost for the crane was partly funded by a $2.72 million seaport grant from the Florida Department of Transportation. The rest of the money came from the port's capital budget.

The crane arrived at the port's North Cargo Berth 5 aboard the heavy-load carrier Happy Dover.

The new crane arrives as the port’s is increasing its cargo business.

The port's revenue from cargo operations rose 18 percent in the budget year that ended Sept. 30 to a record $10.15 million.

More than 6.4 million tons of cargo passed through the port’s 10 berths in fiscal 2018, a 6.9 percent increase over the previous year. The port said its cargo tonnage is expected to climb another 2.7 percent this year.

The new crane joins two 270-foot-tall, ship-to-shore cranes in service at the port since 2014.

In other cargo-related upgrades, the port:

• Modernized North Cargo Berths 1 and 2, adding new concrete decks, marine fenders, bollards and concrete curbs.

• Is transforming North Cargo Berth 8 into a multipurpose cargo berth capable of handling heavy and oversized cargo. The $17.9 million project to construct a new bulkhead, extend the berth’s pier and pave upland is scheduled to be completed this summer.