Mid-Atlantic
STEVE HELBER, AP PHOTO

Port: Largest shipping cranes to operate in US have arrived

NORFOLK, VA. -- What are said to be the largest cranes to operate at a U.S. commercial port arrived Monday in Virginia, marking the latest effort to accommodate the increasingly mammoth container ships that underpin international trade.

"Having these cranes sail into our harbor says, very clearly, to the ocean carriers and the industry that we are prepared for the next evolution and the one to come after that," said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority.

Standing 170 feet (52 meters) tall, the Chinese-made gantry cranes towered over the ship that carried them through the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Officials from the Virginia Port Authority said they will be the nation's largest.

Shipping companies are using fewer but larger container ships to save on costs. And the recent expansion of the Panama Canal has increased ship traffic between Asia and the U.S. East Coast.

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