The Port of San Diego is part of an international group of ports – three in Europe and two in the United States - that is processing dozens of components for one of the world's largest mobile heavy lift cranes, which was built for construction of an Intel fabrication plant in Chandler, Ariz.
The units arrived on Grieg Star Shipping's Harmonia vessel Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011, at the port's Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Longshore workers began offloading the 308 components on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011.
It will take up to 10 days to transport the crane parts from the terminal to Chandler, where the crane, nicknamed Big Benny, is being assembled.
The Sarens Group, a manufacturer of heavy lifting equipment with offices worldwide, manufactured Big Benny in Belgium.
Chairman Scott Peters of the Board of Port Commissioners said the offloading operation underscores the importance of a system of ports and the Port of San Diego's role in the global shipping network.
"Our port was selected for this project because of our specialized capability to handle parts that are too large for containers, and because we have a qualified labor force, space on the terminal and proximity to the project site," Peters said. "There are 360 ports in this country and our port is one of the specialty ports. That's because we have the capability to process this type of cargo."
Some of the components that arrived at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal were shipped in more than 100 containers. Trucks are tentatively scheduled to arrive at the terminal on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, to begin loading components for the more than six-hour trip to Chandler.
Shipments to the Port of San Diego and other ports are timed to coincide with the crane's assembly at the Intel construction site. Components are being shipped based on when the parts will be needed for assembly.
"That's the one challenge of this offloading operation," said Connie Le Fevre, a Port of San Diego senior maritime trade representative, who assisted with the arrangements for the shipment. "We have to make sure the crane parts are positioned in just the right place on the terminal so they will be ready on a certain day for pick up and delivery."
In Chandler, it will take about six weeks to assemble Big Benny. The crane is being used to lift roof panels for the new building.
When fully operational, the crane can lift up to 3,200 tons. The boom has a reach of roughly 755 feet – about the length of three Boeing 747s.
Ahlers Belgium NV arranged for the components to be shipped from Belgium. Rulewave, Inc., of Houston, Texas, Ahlers's counterpart in the United States, coordinated the U.S. logistics. In San Diego, Frances Sawyer, of SSA Marine, a stevedoring company with 150 locations worldwide, coordinated the arrival of the components.
The Port of San Diego oversees two maritime cargo terminals and two cruise ship terminals. It is one of 17 ports designated by the Department of Defense as a strategic port for military operations. In addition to the terminals, the port maintains 17 public parks, various wildlife reserves and it has established numerous environmental initiatives. The port includes a Harbor Police Department and it manages the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub-tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.
For more information, please visit portofsandiego.org/gomaritime.