GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Port of Gulfport took delivery of three, new ship-to-shore cranes on Friday.
Manufactured in China at a cost of $30 million, the equipment is designed to meet the port's needs for the next 40 years.
The ship carrying the giant gantry cranes moved slowly toward the port, following two months of transport time from China. The port director says the multi-million dollar equipment was worth the wait.
"It's creating a significant buzz in the industry that we are receiving this type of equipment. That the federal government, the state and the port authority has made this type of commitment. And with that, the efficiency level of how we're going to be able to handle cargo increases dramatically," said Jonathan Daniels, port director
However, some critics call the investment "too much crane" for what the ships the Port of Gulfport can handle.
"If we bought smaller cranes, five years from now if we end up with larger ships and we don't have the crane size, they're the same people that would say, we did not plan properly for the future," said Daniels.
Each crane has a lifting capacity of roughly 65 tons, and weighs about 1,200 tons.
"And while these cranes are primarily container cranes, you can change up the spreader, you can change up the equipment that's on there. And they can handle bulk, they can handle break bulk," Daniels explained.
The director, who calls the machinery game changing for Gulfport, says thousands of hours have gone into the prep work in advance of the big arrival.
"It's almost the end of restoration and the beginning of the business development and the implementation phase. It's probably the most visible component of the construction," Daniels added.
The port purchased the cranes from China because the company is the largest builder of such cranes in the world. Nothing comparable is built in the U.S.
Once the ship leaves Gulfport, it's headed for the Port of Tampa, to deliver two more cranes.