Kerry-built cranes to be shipped across the Atlantic to New Jersey

Killarney crane manufacturer secured order for three megamax ship-to-shore container cranes for US company

Cobh boat

An Irish crane manufacturer is helping a major US container terminal operator work towards reducing its carbon emissions — but first there is the minor matter of transporting the three mega cranes across the Atlantic Ocean.

Killarney crane manufacturer, Liebherr, secured the order for the three megamax ship-to-shore (STS) container cranes from US company, Maher Terminals in 2021 and since then its expert team of engineers and designers have been working to bring the project to completion.

Liebherr’s Managing Director of Sales, Gerry Bunyan explained that the cranes were designed and built at the company’s plant at Gortroe in Killarney and following manufacture, the main components were transported by road to Fenit from where they then brought by sea to Cobh.

“This is the third group of Liebherr ship-to-shore container cranes to have shipped from Cobh — we have previously shipped three ship-to-shore container cranes to Puerto Rico and a further two to the Hull in the UK but these are the largest ship-to-shore container cranes to ship from Cobh to date.”


Assembly work began on the three massive structures in Rushbrooke near Cobh earlier this year but so huge are the three cranes that they cannot be fully assembled until they reach their final destination at the Port of New York and New Jersey because of the Bayonne Bridge.

“The Bayonne Bridge connects Bayonne in New Jersey with Staten Ireland in New York but before arriving at Maher Terminals, the cranes and their specialist transport ship, the BigLift Baffin, need to pass under the bridge which has a clearance of 66 metres,” he said.

“A fully assembled crane on board a vessel can be significantly higher than this, so the preferred solution is to transport the cranes partly assembled with the upper structure, comprising the boom, the beam and the A frame resting on the lower structure for the duration of the voyage.”

The BigLift Baffin which, at 173m long and 42m wide is over 30m longer than the pitch at Croke Park and almost half as wide, will leave the Port of Cork next week with the three megamax STS cranes and, all going well, reach its destination on America’s East Coast ten days later.

Improved service

Mr Bunyan said: “When the vessel arrives in America, it will anchor off Sandy Hook off New Jersey where final preparations will be made for passing under the bridge — the vessel will wait until tidal conditions are optimum for clearance under the Bayonne Bridge.

“Once the cranes pass under the bridge, they will complete the short journey to Maher Terminals, roll off the delivery vessel, where winch-up of the lower structure to the final operational configuration of the cranes will be completed.”

Mr Bunyan said that once the cranes are commissioned, they will enter service alongside eight existing Liebherr ship to shore container cranes already at the port which Maher Terminals ordered from the Killarney-based manufacturer since placing their first order in 2011.

He explained that Maher is very conscious of the need for sustainable port Infrastructure and the Liebherr cranes form a key component in Maher’s strategy to become a Net Zero emissions facility by 2040 and Liebherr was proud to play its part in helping the US company achieve that goal.

He said that the Liebherr cranes were manufactured using high tensile steel and, with a lattice main beam and boom, they were lighter and required less energy to operate than traditional cranes while features such as LED flood lights reduced energy consumption by 70 per cent.

“With these latest technically advanced machines working alongside the other Liebherr STS cranes at the Port, we are confident Maher Terminals will be able to offer improved services and faster turnarounds and continue to grow as the North American’s largest marine container terminal.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times