Four skyscraper-like cranes, among the largest on the West Coast, floated through Puget Sound Tuesday on a ship.
If you took a look out onto Puget Sound on Tuesday, you might have seen something unusual: four massive cranes floating by.
The cranes, which are among the largest on the West Coast, were traveling from China on a 771-foot-long heavy-lift ship known as the Zhen Hua 31. The ship reached Commencement Bay on Tuesday evening, but its anchors weren’t setting in the bay floor, so it headed back north to spend the night in Seattle. It is off to Tacoma again on Wednesday morning.
The plan is for the Zhen Hua 31 to sit at anchor in Commencement Bay off Tacoma for “a day or two” before heading to the cranes’ final destination, Husky Terminal at the northwest end of the Blair Waterway, according to a news release from the Northwest Seaport Alliance.
You can see the ship’s route here.
The cranes stand 295 feet tall at their apex. They are welded to the ship’s frame for their journey across the Pacific Ocean, and with the booms raised to their tallest position, they stand 434 feet above the ship’s deck.
Once they reach Husky Terminal, the cranes will be offloaded to the dock on rails. They are expected to be up and running by late spring or early summer.
You might remember when four identical cranes sailed to Tacoma on a container ship in February 2018. Like those, the cranes on the move today were manufactured by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd in China (container cranes aren’t currently manufactured in the United States). Components of the cranes, including the spreaders, operator cabs, electronics and brakes, were made in Europe, according to the release.
Together, the eight cranes will be capable of serving two 18,000-TEU container ships — in other words, two ships carrying the equivalent of 18,000 twenty-foot containers — at the same time, according to the release.
Adding the cranes is part of an upgrade in progress to allow the Northwest Seaport Alliance to handle more cargo and larger vessels.
This video from the Northwest Seaport Alliance shows the giant cranes: