WATCH: Shannon Foynes Port Company reaches new heights as €2.8million crane docks

David Hurley

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David Hurley

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WATCH: Shannon Foynes Port Company reaches new heights as new €2.8million crane docks

Pat O'Leary (left), MD of Liebherr in Killarney with Shannon Foynes Port Company CEO PatKeating at Foynes Port where a new €2.8million Liebherr crane was unveiled | Picture: Brian Ruane

Shannon Foynes Port Company has unveiled a multi-mullion euro state-of-the art crane as its investment programme at Foynes Port continues.

SFPC, which has statutory jurisdiction over all marine activities and port management on the Shannon Estuary, has invested €2.8million in a new Liebherr crane – its biggest ever at the port.

The crane, which can lift the equivalent weight as 120 family cars, is the latest purchase as part of the company’s ongoing €64 million investment programme that is seeking to transform the Shannon Estuary into a major national and international economic hub. 

This programme is the first phase of a planned long-term investment by SFPC under its Vision 2041 masterplan, which is targeting the creation of 3,000 jobs over the lifespan of the plan. 

The tender was awarded to Liebherr last year and the crane was manufactured at the company’s Rostock, Germany plant where it builds 70 plus of these units annually. 

The bespoke unit was built over a four month period and had a six day sailing before it arrived at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary where the vessel carrying it anchored for a day to allow the busy port to free up before the two and a half hour sailing to Foynes could take place. 

The crew then waited for high water so that the vessel level reached that of the jetty, allowing for the crane to be driven off by remote control by waiting Liebherr technicians. 

The crane investment has been preceded by a €12.5million investment in infilling 3.45 acres on the port’s East Jetty, where the 370 ton unit will principally operate. 

The next stage in the investment programme, with pre-planning underway, will be the reclamation of a further two hectares of quayside space that will bring the amount of additional berthage to over 35,000m2 or 8.6 acres. 

The additional quayside space and new crane will facilitate positive growth patterns at SFPC, with the facilities enabling the company to unload 40,000 ton vessels directly alongside the quay.

“We need efficient jetties but we also need efficient plant and machinery and this crane gives us all of that and more.  This piece of equipment is future proofing the port. It's something we need for the here and now but it's also planning for the future. The greater lift capacity and reach allows us to bring new business; bigger ships, more ships and process them with faster turnaround times. So it’s an investment in our customers. It also has very low emissions and noise levels are lower also so its environmental footprint is minimised,” said SFPC CEO Pat Keating.

John Carlton, Engineering and Port Services Manager for Shannon Foynes Port Company says the crane has been in the planning for a number of years. 

“This is the biggest crane we have ever had in the port.  Its lifting capacity is just over double our existing capacity at 124 tonne single lift. It has a grab curve of close to 52 tonne which is 20% larger than what we currently have. So everything about this crane is bigger, better, faster, stronger. It's a very significant piece of equipment for the port.”