OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Early birds got an eyeful Wednesday morning when a ship carrying three massive container cranes bound for the Port of Oakland passed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

Big cranes mean big money. It also means a big vote of confidence in our economy.

The largest port gantry cranes on the West Coast arrived Wednesday morning from China. They are heading to Oakland where the freight handling company, Stevedoring Services of America, will service the largest container ships in the world.
S.S.A. General Manager, Jim Rice says the cranes need special care.

“They are so large that they had to be dissembled at the port of origin to get underneath the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge.”

That’s the trick. Fifteen years ago the first set of giant cranes arrived and it was a close call at the Bay Bridge. Live video on board those cranes years ago shows the moment when they passed under the bridge. KPIX 5 reporter Don Ford and the crew could literally reach up and touch it. That’s how close it was.

No drama Wednesday morning, though. Just solid engineering on an exceptionally low tide.

The new container cranes — the tallest ever in Oakland — will tower 400 feet above the wharf. They have a lift height of 174 feet above the dock, and a reach of 225 feet across a ship’s deck.

Port of Oakland says the giant cranes are a measure of confidence in the economy rebounding.

“With the pandemic, we’ve seen a shift to e-commerce and that’s meant more goods actually moving by ocean carriers on these big ships,” says Sandifur

For the moment, the new cranes will remain anchored in the bay while final preparations are completed before they arrive at the dock next Monday.

S.S.A. is paying $30 million for the new monster cranes. The company already has 10 cranes at the port.