Specifically, the voting concluded to the Board approving a $23.4 million contract to Shanghai, China-based Shanghai Zenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., for the construction and delivery of the cranes. There are no domestic manufacturers of container gantry cranes.
Yet, in order for the port to be able to handle larger container ships, it needs equipment with increased capacity.
The larger workhorse container ships currently serving the Gulf range from 8,000 to 9,500 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) and are increasing in frequency. These container ships are best served by 100-foot gauge gantry cranes, which have the ability to work wider ships.
The new cranes will assist the two 100-foot gauge cranes that are already operating at the terminal site.
Additionally, this will also allow the 50-foot gauge gantry cranes that are currently in operation to be utilized by smaller vessels.
As President and CEO Brandy D. Christian commented on the new cranes
These new cranes are vital to our success and growth here at Port NOLA. They will increase our efficiency so we can accommodate larger and wider ships more quickly and meet the growing needs of our carriers and shippers.
Moreover, the port is extending its 100-foot gauge rail tracks to be in the place to accommodate the new cranes at Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal.
Container volumes have grown significantly at the Port in the past few years, setting an all-time record in 2018 with 591,253 TEUs, up 12.3% in one year.
In the meantime, along with the port's development, the port's container business has doubled in the past 10 years. Specifically, LNG, oil and gas and petrochemical companies, such as Shintech, ExxonMobil, Dow and Formosa, have announced investments of more than $80 billion in Louisiana over the past several years.
The Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal is the only container terminal in Louisiana taking place on global trade.
Now, port NOLA reaches directly to 58 international ports and connects with more than 450 via transshipment with containerized and breakbulk cargo, because of the Panama Canal expansion and the increased Gulf Coast calls via the Suez Canal.
Through construction, transport and crane installation the entire project is scheduled to take approximately 18 to 20 months from contract approval.