WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - After a three-month, 18,000 mile journey across the globe, a third neo-Panamax crane arrived at the Port of Wilmington Monday afternoon.
Following a three-hour delay due to fog, the Zhen Hua 25 made the trek up the Cape Fear River to deliver the port its newest crane.
The crane, officials say, will help the Port of Wilmington service some of the largest ships to call on the East Coast and will bring the total number of cranes capable of handling these large vessels to seven.
Specifically, the third neo-Panamax crane will allow the port to accommodate two 14,000-TEU class container ships side-by-side in a two-berth operation.
“The arrival of the third neo-Panamax crane is a continuation of a massive infrastructure improvements plan NC Ports has in place to enhance the terminal in Wilmington,” said Brian E. Clark, North Carolina Ports chief operating officer. “The advancements we’re making with our cranes, container terminal and gate complex are paving the way for monumental growth at the Port of Wilmington and allowing us to efficiently accommodate our growing customer base.”
In March 2018, two identical neo-Panamax cranes were delivered to the port as part of a $200 million infrastructure improvement project.
Monday’s arrival of the newest crane forced the closure of a 26-mile stretch of the southern Cape Fear River until the Zhen Hua could be moored at the port.
The Cape Fear River has since reopened to vessel traffic.
The Coast Guard will establish a second safety zone extending 200 yards around the Zhen Hua for approximately two to four hours on separate days as crews work to offload the crane.