Massive cranes will give PhilaPort competitive edge, double port's cargo capacity

Infrastructure improvements will translate to nearly 7,000 jobs

Steve Tawa
May 29, 2018 - 4:32 pm
The super-post-Panamax cranes at PhilaPort are described as a "game-changer."

Steve Tawa | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Local, state and federal officials, along with dock workers, say two enormous new cranes rising from the Port of Philadelphia will keep them competitive with other top-notch ports. And, recent infrastructure improvements will translate to nearly 7,000 jobs. 

The super-post-Panamax cranes at PhilaPort are described as a "game-changer."

Leo Holt — president of Holt Logistics, which operates at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal — said they are doubling the port's container cargo capacity.

"The more funding you give us, the more jobs we'll give back," he said.

The super-post-Panamax cranes at PhilaPort are described as a "game-changer."
Steve Tawa | KYW Newsradio

Gov. Tom Wolf was gratified to see the giant cranes — part of his commitment two years ago to invest more than $300 million in PhilaPort.

"These critically needed dollars help improve all aspects of the port, from infrastructure to warehousing to physical equipment," he explained.

By leveraging public funds with private investments, Packer Avenue Marine Terminal acquired the cranes at $12 million each, helped by the commonwealth's $300 million grant in 2016.

"These are the biggest and most sophisticated cranes in the world, and can handle the world's largest container ships," said Jerry Sweeney, chair of the Port Authority board.

He said three more cranes just like them are due here next year at this time. They're 21 stories high, rising to 32 stories with the boom up — taller than the nearby Walt Whitman Bridge. 

Sweeney noted there is a return on those investments.

"We'll be adding almost $40 million a year in new state and local taxes," he said, "and we'll be adding nearly 7,000 family sustaining jobs."

Sen. Bob Casey said he's tapped $271 million since 2007 in federal awards for the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project, which supports larger container vessels.

Mayor Jim Kenney added it means getting ships in and out of the port faster: "Ship it here, it'll get out faster. It doesn't stay on this dock very long."

Jim Paylor, a Longshoremen's union representative, said while the Philly port has a reputation of moving product, the upgrades will enable them to double the port's container cargo capacity.

"We can deliver cargo in 24 hours to 65 percent of the population," he said.