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Port Likely to Buy Big Crane

by Jonathan Nelson
The Columbian, May 6, 2006

A surge in special cargo and the prospect of luring more business to the Port of Vancouver is likely to result in the agency buying a $3.2 million mobile crane.

The crane, built by an Austrian company, Liebherr, looks like a giant mechanical bug with its square box control booth that sits atop 200 wheels and four anchor pads.

The anchors descend from each side and lift the crane off its wheels before it goes into action.

A single metal column rises 116.5 feet from the middle of the driver's box.

A 174-foot-long boom swings out from the column and does the heavy lifting.

Port officials believe the massive machine will cement Vancouver's status as the premier port for equipment headed to an increasing number of wind farms sprouting up in Eastern Washington and Oregon.

The port moved 80 wind turbines last year and expects to see more.

Port commissioners previously approved the search for a crane and need to give the final nod on buying the machine at their Tuesday meeting.

Three companies submitted bids. Alastair Smith, the port's director of marketing and operations, said the staff chose the biggest one to increase the port's versatility in attracting business.

Liebherr will build the crane at its Rostock, Germany, plant before shipping it in five main sections to Vancouver. It is expected to arrive by September and be operating by October.

Along with the wind turbines and other special projects, Smith said the crane is expected to also increase efficiencies with existing marine traffic.

Unlike the Port of Portland, where containers are king, Vancouver deals primarily in grain shipping and loose products like wood, which the industry terms break bulk.

Smith said the new crane has the ability to reach across a ship's deck, toward the river side, and pick up cargo.

The port's existing cranes sometime force ships to turn around to complete unloading. Jonathan Nelson covers the Port of Vancouver. He can be reached at 360-759-8013 or via e-mail at

Previously: The Port of Vancouver went shopping for a mobile crane in late 2005.
What's new: Port staff found a $3.2 million crane that has a 140-ton lifting capacity.
What's next: Port commissioners are expected to approve the purchase at Tuesday's meeting.

Jonathan Nelson, Staff Writer
Port Likely to Buy Big Crane
The Columbian, May 6, 2006

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