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East Coast Ports

In the eve of the expansion, which is expected in 2015, East Coast ports of the US try to deepen their harbors for being able to meet the large ships from Far East. They also expand their infrastructure. Today the ports are handling the post-Panamax vessels from India, Middle East and Southeast Asia. Although Norfolk and Baltimore already have enough water to accept big ships, they don't stop improving. Having the 50 foot of water, they add new train services. A new double-stack intermodal rail terminal is planned to be built by Baltimore port.

When Obama's Administration sped up the Federal approval process for expansion and deepening projects of the ports, they got a good help. Such ports were Jacksonville, Miami, New York/New Jersey, Charleston, and Savannah. This could break the ground for some of the ports to get ready by 2015. One more significant fact was that East Coast ports increased their market share becoming the leader in containerized exports at the beginning of 2012.

Konecranes and Houston Port Cooperation

The important news has been recently reported about East Coast port in Houston. It has become known that Port of Houston Authority orders ship-to-shore cranes from the Finnish company Konecranes. The order's price is $56 million, and accept for four super post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes, it includes three rubber-tire gantry cranes. The lifting equipment provider reports that STS cranes that usually handle the 22 containers wide container ships are going to be the greatest ones that Konecranes has ever manufactured.

Actually the STS crane is used for automating the process of ISO containers that are manually verifying. They are loaded and unloaded from dock line ship-to-shore gantry cranes. The provided cranes are going to have the 66 tons capacity and 64 meters outreach with twin lift action. The cranes are intended to be equipped with AC frequency control system and will be the semi-automated ones. The automated system for RTG terminal operators has been also introduced by Konecranes, it is built around 16-wheel RTG (rubber tyred gantry).

Last Year’s Strike in East Coast Ports

It would be unfair not to mention the most meaningful event referring East Coast ports. The strike of dockworkers in 2012 caused the threat of shutting down the seaports in the Eastern USA. It could also cause the recession in factory production, prevent exports and merchandise. The reason for the strike was that in workers' opinion payments offset jobs, hours lost to automation. This was announced by the union that represented more than 14,5 thousand workers at 14 ports.

It was for sure that Texas and Maine ports could close if the United States Maritime Alliance hadn't reached the deal with the International Longshoremen Association. The first organization represented shipping companies and port operators and its contract with the second one expired on December 29, 2012 at midnight. Maritime Alliance wished to place limits on container royalties that were paid to union workers on the ground of cargo weight. This was exactly the reason of dispute. Perishable goods were supposed to be loaded even during strike, nevertheless.