It's not just shoes, Xboxes and other consumer goods that come from China. Zhenhua Port Machinery Co. (ZPMC), the world's leading manufacturer...

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It’s not just shoes, Xboxes and other consumer goods that come from China.

Zhenhua Port Machinery Co. (ZPMC), the world’s leading manufacturer of the huge steel cranes that unload shipping containers, is delivering two more of its biggest to the Port of Tacoma this week.

The 25-story-high cranes arrive fully assembled from Shanghai, welded onto a specially designed transport ship.

They will be detached and, when the tide is at the right level early next week, will be moved on rails to the wharf at the Port’s new Pierce County Terminal.

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(A film crew from the History Channel is interested in documenting the event for an episode of the program “Mega Movers.”)

These Super post-Panamax cranes — named for the giant ships they serve, which are too big to use the Panama Canal — will join seven others at the Port.

They can reach out two-thirds of a football field to load and unload the semitrailer-sized shipping containers that are a basic unit of international trade.

Giant Cranes


Two Super-post Panamax cranes arrived at the Port of Tacoma this week. Evergreen Marine owns these two and five others. The Port owns two.

Height Almost 25 stories, with the boom down.

Weight 1,400 metric tons — roughly 229.5 fully grown African bull elephants, according to the “compulsory pachyderm conversion” data posted on the Port of Tacoma’s Web site.

Horsepower 1,340, generated by electric motors that produce no emissions.

Hoist speed 295 feet per minute when loaded with a shipping container. That compares with a standard rate of around 200 feet per minute.

Source: Port of Tacoma, Evergreen Marine

The cranes cost between $7 million and $8 million each, according to a spokeswoman for Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine, which owns them at Pierce County Terminal.

During the last decade, ZPMC has grown to dominate the global market for this equipment, said Bryon Boerner, electronics-technology manager at the Port of Tacoma.

“They are No. 1 in the world as far as orders” since about 2002, he said, adding that ZPMC takes advantage of its lower costs for labor and steel.

“It’s the China story again, good quality and cheaper pricing than others are able to offer,” Zoe Double of London-based trade publication Containerisation International said in an e-mail.

“Competing with [ZPMC] is extremely hard for crane manufacturers in other regions,” Double said.

ZPMC recently won a $33.2 million contract with the South Carolina State Ports Authority for four Super post-Panamax cranes. According to a Ports Authority spokesman, its bid was more than $831,000 lower per crane than the closest competitor’s price.

Benjamin J. Romano: bromano@seattletimes.com