Heavy lifting: Port of Miami looks to add two more cargo cranes
By Ashley D. Torres
The Port of Miami looks to buy two more gantry cranes, with assistance from Miami-Dade County bond sales, to prepare for future port growth.
"The gantry cranes," said Juan Kurlya, seaport deputy director, "are critical to the port's growth."
The port currently owns nine post-Panamax cranes that are used to load and unload containers. Two of these cranes, acquired in 2005, are super post-Panamax, meaning they can load and unload larger vessels that are expected at the seaport after the Panama Canal expansion completion in 2014.
One such vessel, an 8500 Twenty-foot Equivalent Ship, is to berth at the seaport Nov. 14 and, Mr. Kurlya said, be the largest container vessel to dock at the port. The ship can transport 8500 20-foot containers and take three to four super post-Panamax cranes to unload when fully loaded.
"Without the cranes," Mr. Kurlya said, "we cannot load or unload these larger ships."
The county, as part of a proposed $80 million bond sale series, designated $9.532 million to assist the seaport in buying two more super post-Panamax cranes. The cranes can cost $10.5 million to $12 million each.
On Oct. 12, the county commission's Budget, Planning and Sustainability Committee passed 4-1 the $80 million bond series resolution, which allocates bond-sale money for additional seaport improvements and county transit department projects. Joe Martinez voted against the resolution, which must still be approved by the full commission.
"I'm very supportive of where this money is being spent," said Commissioner Sally Heyman at the committee meeting, "and appreciative of the seaport's efforts to be competitive."
The seaport looks to have the cranes by the last quarter of 2012 or first quarter of 2013, Mr. Kurlya said, pending bond issuance and awarding a gantry crane contract. In addition, depending on market conditions, the seaport could have the option to buy additional gantry cranes within two or three years through the same contract bid.
Competitive improvements to the port, including the newly awarded grant money to return rail service to Dodge Island, the port tunnel construction and the planned channel dredging to a 50-foot depth, are all part of the on-port improvements, Mr. Kurlya said, but "the first step is the cranes."