The three cranes were designed and manufactured in Liebherr's facility in Killarney, which specialises in cranes for shipping terminals and port operations. [Source: Irish Examiner/Alan Healy]
Three container cranes have departed Cork Harbour on board a single vessel, on a voyage to one of the world's largest shipping terminals located on the east coast of the US.
The three cranes were designed and manufactured in Liebherr's facility in Killarney, which specialises in cranes for shipping terminals and port operations. They are destined for the Maher Terminals at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Cork's Doyle Shipping Group (DSG) is handling the transport operations for the cranes, including commissioning the transport vessel the Big Lift Baffin, which arrived in Cork Harbour on Sunday.
The various parts of the crane were manufactured in Killarney and were shipped to Cork either by road or by sea from the harbour in Fenit. They were then assembled in DSG's 44-acre Cork Dockyard terminal near Cobh.
However, the three cranes were only partially assembled, with the upper structure sitting on the lower structure during the transatlantic voyage. This is to keep the overall height of the shipped cranes low enough to pass under Bayonne Bridge, which connects New York to New Jersey.
When they arrive in the US, they will anchor off Sandy Hook, where final preparations for passing the bridge will be made.
Once the cranes pass under the bridge, they will arrive at Maher terminals. They will be rolled off the ship and assembled in their final configuration, before entering service alongside eight existing Liebherr ship-to-shore cranes already at Maher.
The process of moving the cranes onto the vessel took place over the past week with the Big Lift Baffin departing Cork on Wednesday for the ten-day voyage to the US.
It was announced last October that Liebherr had secured the contract for the new cranes. At the time, Liebherr’s managing director-sales Gerry Bunyan said the new order would continue their longstanding relationship with Maher Terminals.
"With these latest technically advanced machines working alongside the other Liebherr STS cranes at the port, we are confident Maher Terminals will be able to offer improved services and faster turnarounds to their customers and continue to grow as North America’s largest marine container terminal."
Eoin O'Sullivan, director with DSG, told the Irish Examiner that months of planning have gone into the process with extensive coordination between DSG, Liebherr and the Port of Cork.
"This is the second major operation to transport ship-to-shore cranes from Cork Harbour and we would expect further such operations in the future. We have also transported smaller rubber-tyred gantry cranes manufactured by Liebherr."
These cranes are the largest single objects ever engineered in Ireland to be shipped out of the country and it highlights the capability and suitability of Cork Harbour for such operations. There is no air draft, so no wires or bridges to impede transport. Once they leave the terminal here, there is direct access to the open Atlantic.
Ship-to-shore container cranes from Killarney are used in more than 100 ports throughout the world. The German-Swiss company has had operations in the Kerry town since 1958, initially producing tower cranes.
Today, Liebherr employs 790 people in Killarney. The company's maritime crane division recorded a turnover of €740m last year.