The last two cranes complete the Port of Virginia's $450 million terminal renovation. Photo: Kendall Osborne.

Port of Virginia Receives East Coast’s Largest-Ever Cranes

Container ships are getting larger and larger. The Port of Virginia is gearing up for these Ultra Large Container Vessels by installing immense new Ship to Shore (STS) cranes. On November 5, two new STS cranes were delivered to Norfolk International Terminal by the vessel Zhen Hua 25. These are the largest cranes on the East Coast. They will be able to reach all the way across ultra-large vessels such as the CDA CMG Brazil. The Brazil is 1,200 feet long and almost 170 feet wide—larger than an aircraft carrier! As more shipping lines switch to these gigantic vessels, Virginia will be ready for them.

John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, calls the cranes’ delivery a “landmark moment” years in the making.

Photo: Kendall Osborne

The cranes are the final pieces in a terminal optimization project started in 2018. This $452 million project increases the total capacity of NIT by 46 percent. Once the new cranes are operational, The Port of Virginia will have 30 ship-to-shore cranes at work in the Norfolk Harbor and the ability to service the biggest container ships sailing the Atlantic Ocean.

According to the Port Authority, “The Port of Virginia will have an added capacity of over 1 million containers due to the expansion project at Virginia International Gateway and the terminal optimization project at NIT. These historic investments ensure that our ocean carriers, cargo owners and transportation partners will have room to expand their international business for decades to come.”

At Norfolk, the other improvements include 30 new container stacks and 60 new semi-automated gantry cranes. Be sure to look for these new cranes next time you go boating or sailing on the Elizabeth River. They will be easy to see and hard to miss.

Kendall Osborne