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Physical Oceanographic Real Time System

Ship Under a Bridge (video)

NOAA Clears Path for Largest Cranes in New Orleans's History

May 18, 2011
cranes passing under Crescent City Bridge, New Orleans

On May 2, 2011 after a 53-day, 15,700-mile journey from South Korea, the Port of New Orleans received two new container gantry cranes for installation at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal. NOS and the National Weather Service (NWS) worked together to provide crucial information for the safe passage of these massive cranes in to the port by ensuring they could pass under the Crescent City Bridge.  

The delivery date for the cranes was moved up by several weeks because the NWS forecast a high-river stage later in the month, making early May the best time for safe passage of the container ship carrying the cranes. As the cranes passed under the bridge, NOS provided air gap information as part of the Lower Mississippi River Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®). This information helped to ensure a safe and early passage of the ship in to the Port of New Orleans. 

The new cranes have a 65-long-ton lift capacity, 110-foot lift height and a 167-foot outreach, making the cranes the largest in the port’s history. The cranes have the ability to reach containers stacked 18 columns across the width of a ship. Previously, cranes in the port had a maximum capacity to stack 15 containers across. 

The crane project will support surges in container volumes at the Port of New Orleans. In 2010, the port moved 427,518 twenty-foot-equivalent units, or TEUs, which is the standard unit measure within a container terminal. The port expects to exceed these numbers in 2011.