Two Port-bound 'super cranes' expected in Commencement Bay today

Two of the world’s largest container cranes are scheduled to arrive by ship midday today in Tacoma’s Commencement Bay.

The 273-foot-high “super post-Panamax” cranes can serve a ship 24 containers wide, making the cranes among the world’s largest. Built by Shanghai-based ZPMC, the cranes will arrive fully assembled aboard the Zhen Hua 26, a special crane delivery ship.

The cranes are bound for Washington United Terminals, the Tacoma home of Hyundai Merchant Marine and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.

The Zhen Hua 26 will arrive with four cranes welded to its deck and will remain anchored in Commencement Bay until Wednesday. The ship will then travel down the Blair Waterway to Washington United Terminals, where the two largest cranes will unload.

The terminal currently has four cranes with 18-container wide outreach. After the two new cranes arrive — and a third new crane arrives in 2010 — Washington United Terminals will have seven cranes.

Two smaller cranes aboard the Zhen Hua 26 will remain on board the ship for delivery to Chile after the Tacoma stop.

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UPDATE: The Index has posted photos of the ship arriving in Commencement Bay today. Visit our blog — — to view the photos.