STS cranes heightened

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Rotterdam based crane heightening specialist ZPMC Netherlands commissioned heavy lift and transportation specialist ALE to assist with the heightening of ten cranes at the Port of Felixstowe, the busiest container port in the UK. Five of the cranes weighed 1,530 tonnes and five weighed 1,650 tonnes.

It was not possible to perform the heightening procedure in the location the cranes are normally positioned as this would have impacted the productivity of the port. Instead, each crane was transported and heightened at a time that best suited the port management. Individually the cranes were transported to a designated upgrade area using SPMT. The heavier cranes utilised 88 axle lines in four-file 22 configurations while the lighter cranes used 80 axle lines in a four-file 20 configuration.

A custom transport frame was used during each of these manoeuvres to support the cranes as they were being transported and jacked-up for heightening. According to ALE, this saved time compared to transferring the cranes between separate support structures during each upgrade procedure.

The cranes were jacked-up 6 metres and 10 metres, depending on their required final heights. These lifts were performed using ALE’s Mega Jack 800 system in a four-tower configuration. Following the upgrades, the cranes were jacked down and returned to their original locations. The upgrade work means that the port can now accept larger vessels carrying more layers of shipping containers, helping it take steps to accommodate a predicted doubling in capacity by 2030.

“We are delighted to be nominated as the main contractor for the Port of Felixstowe. These types of projects require a highly specialist approach to deliver an efficient and timely solution. The team at ALE integrated perfectly to maximise a successful outcome.”

Oscar Ehrlich, director, ZPMC Crane Upgrades and Services

ZPMC is also heightening three ship-to-shore cranes at the BEST terminal in Barcelona, Spain. The cranes will have their height increased by five metres with the aim of speeding up turnaround at the port.