A ship delivering the towering cranes to the port literally stopped traffic on the Talmadge Memorial Bridge spanning the Savannah River near the city’s downtown riverfront. The bridge was closed for about 30 minutes as a safety precaution while the ship squeezed beneath it.
The new cranes are capable of lifting up to 65 tons of cargo to a height of 136 feet above the dock. Their addition means Savannah now has 16 cranes large enough to load and unload supersized cargo ships that are currently too big to fit through the Panama Canal. Georgia is also pressing to deepen the Savannah harbor to make room for those ships, which will be able to use the canal after it finishes a major expansion in 2015.
Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, said the new cranes will improve efficiency at the Savannah port — the fourth-busiest container port in the nation. Last year the port handled more than 2.9 million containers of imports and exports.
The Savannah port’s container terminal now has a total of 25 ship-to-shore cranes that run on electricity, the most of any shipping terminal in the U.S.