New Brunswick

Big blue cranes a sign of Saint John harbour overhaul

If you were near Saint John Harbour this weekend, you probably noticed something different. Two massive blue cranes were delivered Saturday afternoon.

New cranes will service larger container ships old ones couldn't

Two huge blue cranes arrived in Saint John from Charleston, S.C. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

If you were near Saint John Harbour this weekend, you probably noticed something different.

Two massive blue cranes were delivered Saturday afternoon from Charleston, S.C.

Their arrival marks the first visual appearance of a seven-year harbour overhaul aimed at increasing the amount of container traffic.

The new craanes are about 10 metres taller than the old cranes, opening the port to ships carrying twice the maximum load it currently handles. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

It also marks the end of an era for the current red cranes, which were already second-hand when they went into service at the harbour in 1971.

The newer ones were built in the late 1990's and were refurbished in Charleston. They are about 10 metres taller than the old cranes, opening the port to ships carrying twice the maximum load it currently handles.

The new cranes are expected to be in service by mid-January. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

"If we have a ship come in now that's a large ship there's not enough air draft to be able to take the containers off the top levels of that ship, so these cranes are higher and they'll be able to handle larger ships," said Peter Gaulton, chairman of the port of Saint John.

With the designation of a free-trade zone, the DP World, the Port and other companies could benefit from duty and tax deferrals. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

DP World owns and will operate the cranes under a 30-year-lease.

The new cranes won't be in operation until about mid-January. In the spring, the old red ones will head to the scrap pile.

With files from Matthew Bingley/CBC

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