Peel Ports has signed the contract for 30 giant cranes to be built by Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co of Shanghai to serve its new £300m Liverpool2 container port.
ZPMC will initially supply five ship-to-shore quay cranes and 12 cantilever rail-mounted gantry cranes in phase one of the project. There will be a further three ship-to-shore cranes and 10 gantry cranes in the second phase of development.
The advanced container terminal is scheduled to open at the end of 2015. The combined handling capacity of the cranes will increase the port's productivity and efficiency.
Mark Whitworth, chief executive of Peel Ports Group, said: "These cranes are a vital element in making Liverpool2 among the world's fastest, most efficient container ports. The fact that we'll be able to handle 90% of the global fleet at the Port of Liverpool will be a true game-changer for shipping lines. The cranes will help future-proof the UK's most centrally positioned deep water port for growth.
"Combined with our recent multi-million pound investment in the world-leading Navis N4 terminal operating system, the facility will dramatically cut transfer time from port to road or rail, maximising our productivity.
"It's a significant investment for the long term and the most important development at the Port of Liverpool in the last 20 years."
Liu Qizhong, senior vice president of ZPMC, said: "The specification set out by Peel Ports was extremely demanding. It is clear their ambition to set new standards in port handling technology is a serious one. The combination of deep water and cutting edge technologies sets a new standard for ports innovation in Europe."
ZPMC, the largest heavy-duty equipment manufacturer in the world, has chosen to site its UK service centre in Liverpool, to coincide with the arrival of the cranes in 2015. Specialist engineers will provide round-the-clock operational support to ensure proactive and real-time service and maintenance, ensuring maximum productivity from the Liverpool2 terminal at all times.
The cranes will enable the port to simultaneously handle two post-Panamax vessels, up to 13,500 containers, on the Liverpool2 berth.