The Port’s modernization of the Bellingham Shipping Terminal marks a major milestone this week with the arrival of a 120 metric ton capacity Harbor Crane.
The “Liebherr” brand Harbor Crane is mobile, has a reach of 157 feet, and can handle a wide variety of cargos.
After arrival and certification, the crane will be used for several Port projects. Most promising is an anticipated barge service from Bellingham to San Diego. Operating as part of “America’s Marine Highway” this line will target forest products (lumber, and other wood-based products) southbound and empty container repositioning northbound. The new crane, along with the Port’s recent $6.85 million Federal PIDP grant to upgrade the terminal, will be a big assist in attracting new business as well as better serving long term customers.
“The new Harbor Crane is an amazing piece of machinery which will open the door for business opportunities we have not been able to access and create good jobs for our community” said Port Commission President Ken Bell. “Having a massive crane on the docks of the Bellingham Shipping Terminal not only shows we are working Port, but it will serve as a lasting symbol of the strength of Whatcom County’s working waterfront.”
The 817,915 pound-crane was shipped by barge from California to Bellingham after it was declared surplus by the US Maritime Administration due to a change in cargo focus at the Port of West Sacramento. The Port contracted with Pacific Crane Maintenance Company and was able to take advantage of their expertise moving large port machinery.
“Having a Harbor Crane to load and unload cargo is a key component in our return to working seaport status” said Port Marine Terminals Business Development Manager Chris Clark. “We were very fortunate the US Maritime Administration supports our efforts during this time of infrastructure enhancements.”
The Bellingham Shipping Terminal remains the Port’s biggest potential job-creating asset. One of which are the International Longshoreman & Warehousemen Union (ILWU) members who provide valuable cargo moving services, and are supportive of these efforts to further revitalize the Shipping Terminal. The terminal improvements will accommodate the needs of today’s modern shipping industry and position Whatcom County for new family-wage, working waterfront jobs.
“I want to thank the Port Commissioners, Executive Director Rob Fix and Port staff for working together with Local 7 to make this crane purchase happen. It has been a long effort to secure consistent work in Bellingham and the equipment acquired will be a big factor in keeping this progress going,” said ILWU Local 7 Business Manager Joe Schmidt.
Over 6000 jobs in Whatcom County are created or supported by the marine trades representing 7% of the total workforce.