BigLift’s Happy Star loading a topside module in Ulsan, Korea

BigLift’s Happy Star loading a topside module in Ulsan, Korea

The race is on to increase the size of vessels and the lifting capacity of dockside equipment to keep up with the demand for heavy lifting jobs. Katherine Weir reports

When dealing with oversized and heavy objects, end users need equipment that is quick to mobilise, minimises downtime, and, more importantly, can lift the unusual cargo needed to be transported. Over the years, this has resulted in increased vessel sizes and, in turn, the increased lifting capability of dockside equipment.

International heavy lift and transport company Mammoet has terminal cranes and ring cranes especially designed for this type of lifting. The MTC 15 terminal crane has a capacity of up to 600 tonnes and small footprint so no ground reinforcement is needed. Its design allows for quick mobilisation with minimal assist equipment.

Pierre Mille, USA sales director at international heavy lifting and transport company Mammoet, says, “Because of its characteristics, the MTC 15 unlocks new routes that were previously impossible and as such, render many logistics projects faster and more cost-effective.”

The company also has the PTC 140 and the PTC 200 ring cranes extensively used dockside, oftentimes for the assembly of floating production, storage and offloading units (FPSOs).

Mille continues, “Ring cranes answer a wide variety of today’s lifting challenges by combining lifting capacity - up to 5,000 tonnes - with a long reach, small footprint, flexible configuration and quick mobilization. They offer solutions when oversized and heavy objects have to be installed or upgrades need to be carried out in confined areas.”

Mammoet’s busiest market for dockside lifting is petrochemical. “Even when times are rough, petrochemical plants will always require work. The large capital projects will come and go, but turn arounds and upgrades will always remain,” explains Mille.

USA-based Barnhart Crane & Rigging, the heavy cargo handler from port of entry to site, are focused solely on the USA market and are seeing a similar demand in this type of lifting. John Mickler, national logistics development manager, says, “My prediction over the next 12 months is that power related cargo will be the emerging market.”

Heavy lift ship management company BigLift Shipping is no stranger to breakbulk cargo and dockside lifting. Hansje Dahmen-Verkade at BigLift Shipping, explains the companies busiest markets, “A great variety of heavy and over-sized cargoes for long-standing clients in the oil and gas, mining and power generating industries, is carried worldwide by our modern fleet of specialized heavy lift vessels.”

BigLift currently has 15 vessels including its latest Happy S type models – added in 2013 and 2014 - Happy Star and Happy Sky. Dahmen-Verkade continues, “In response to requests from the market, both vessels’ cranes have been built for unmatched lifting height and outreach, offering superior lifting capabilities. The cranes on both vessels are prepared to have a flyjib mounted, which extends lifting height and outreach even more.”

Heavy lifting

Liebherr-Werk Nenzing released the LHM 800, said by the company to be the biggest mobile harbour crane available on the market, early last year. It has a lifting capacity of up to 308 tonnes, a bulk handling capacity of 2,300 tonnes per hour and is capable of servicing 22 rows wide container vessels.

Philip Helberg, product manager at Liebherr, says, “The development of the LHM 800 is a reaction towards the increasing vessel size resulting in higher lifting capabilities. Three units have been sold with the first unit delivered to St. Petersburg, Russia, in heavy lift configuration. The next two units will be delivered to Montecon, Uruguay, for container handling operation.”

BigLift Shipping developed the Happy Star and Happy Sky vessels both with lifting capabilities of two times 900 tonnes, combinable to 1,800 tonnes.

Dahmen-Verkade says, “The forward positions of the superstructures offer a single large cargo hold and a wide open deck area. The S type vessels have a notation for open sailing, which allows for more flexibility with large and high cargoes. A key factor in the safe and reliable operation of these super heavy lifters is that the design allows the performing of cargo operations without the use of stability pontoons during lifting operations.”

Happy Star has high crane pedestals and a lengthened jib as well as a lifting height unmatched in the worldwide fleet of heavy lift vessels, the company said. It has a beam of 29 m and has sufficient anti-heel capacity and stability to use the cranes to full capacity – 1,800 tonnes at 25 m, 1,600 tonnes at 28 m and 1,000 tonnes at 41 metres with a lifting height of close to 47 m above the main deck.

Her sister vessel Happy Star works at 1,800 tonnes at 21 m, 1,600 tonnes at 25 m and 1,000 tonnes at 32 m with a lifting height of close to 41 m above the main deck.

New to the market

Terex Port Solutions (TPS) has expanded its fleet of mobile harbour cranes with the Quaymate M50, completely manufactured and assembled at the Chinese site of TPS in Xiamen. The two-rope mobile harbour crane has a maximum lifting capacity of 50 tonnes, a 20 tonne motor grab curve and an outreach of up to 36 metres.

The Quaymate M50 is equipped with a diesel generator and is provided with additional equipment for operation with power from the terminal’s own supply. As a result, this model is particularly flexible as well as increasing cost-effectiveness and eliminating exhaust gas emissions when operated with external power, the company said.

The first M50 sold went to Australia in March of this year and the most recent two commissioned (at time of writing) will be heading to South Korean-based logistic provider CJ Korea Express in August.

Terex’s Material Handling & Port Solutions (MHPS) business segment has recently been sold to Konecranes in a US$ 1.3 billion deal expected to close in January 2017. John Garrison, president and chief executive officer at Terex, says, “As a 25 % shareholder of Konecranes, Terex will be able to share in the synergies and economic upside of the combined MHPS and Konecranes businesses.”

It will be interesting to see what changes, and possibly new models, come from this acquisition.

On the horizon

At Mammoet, plans are already in motion for a new model to be used in the dockside lifting market. Mille explains, “We are currently working on a 15,000 tonne capacity crane that will provide a further push to construction efficiency and will certainly have a purpose for dockside applications.”

This will add to the popular MTC 15 and ring crane models already part of the Mammoet fleet, offering bigger lifting capacity to customers.

Another market that is investing heavily in this sector is Sweden-based manufacturer Bromma, as it continues expanding its main facility in Perak, Malaysia. This is in an effort to retain its position as the world's largest manufacturer for port crane spreaders, the company said. Since operation started in 1995, there has been RM 228 million (approximately US$ 55 million) of investment into the company’s Ipoh facility.

New from Konecranes, aside from its acquisition of the MHPS segment of Terex, is the partnership with Meyer Turku shipyard to deliver a 1,200 tonne capacity Goliath gantry crane. Operation is due to start in May 2018. Konecranes will supply the design, precision drive components, electrical installation, automation system and structural components. Meyer Turku will manufacture the main girder in its own hull production facility.

Dock crane extension

As ports grapple with the operational and logistical challenges of accommodating a new generation of super container vessels, heavy lifting equipment manufacturer, Enerpac, believes its JS500 jack up system holds the key to safely increasing the height of dock cranes to unload these vessels. Based on its jack-up technology, the multipoint, synchronised lifting system can raise crane height by up to 20 m.

Larger container ships are now the norm as shipping companies seek to drive down freight costs. Many port cranes have sufficient outreach but lack the height necessary to unload the containers. Retrofitting existing cranes can mean raising the crane, weighing typically in excess of 1,500 tonnes, by 4 to 12 m.

The JS500 lifting capacity is 500 tonnes per jack up unit, giving an overall dock crane lifting capacity of 2,000 tonnes, to a maximum height of 20 m.

Pete Crisci, global business development leader at Enerpac, says, “The JS500 jack up system is designed to offer a safe, efficient and cost-effective way of upgrading port cranes to cope with the demands of super container vessels. The synchronised computer control gives the entire system an ease of use, safety and stability that makes it ideal of this type of application.”

This feature was taken from the June issue of International Cranes and Specialized Transport magazine.

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