After more than a week at anchor on the seaward side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the ship, which was bringing the cranes to Global Terminal, slowly made its way toward Bayonne.
Although officials at Global Terminal and Container Services had waited for months for the ship to make its way from its original port in China, high winds had postponed its landing under orders of the U.S. Coast Guard.
For more than three hours, this ship loaded with two large white cranes edged itself through one of the busiest harbors in the world, passing commuter-laden ferries and cargo ships loaded with containers as it made its way slowly to its final destination in Bayonne.
The cranes - among the largest made in the world for the handling of freight - will help transform Bayonne's Global Terminal into one of the most advanced port facilities in the harbor, partly because they were built to handle some of the largest ships being built, none of which can yet sail through the Kill Van Kull or under the Bayonne Bridge to facilities at Port Elizabeth and Port Newark.
The giant white cranes sat at the center of the ship with their arms reaching toward the side, which seemed odd for some of those standing at the Bayonne shore watching them approach.
Global Vice President Dave Brady said the two new cranes were shipped from CBMC, the largest crane manufacturer in the world, and will join four existing cranes at the Global site just north of the Military Ocean Terminal.
"This substantially increases our ability to handle freight," Brady said. "These are built to handle ships that haven't even been built yet."
Having these cranes gives Global a logistical advantage over other port facilities in the area, because Global is closer to the sea and will be one of the first areas in the overall harbor dredged to the 50-foot depth necessary for those ships to come into port.
"This part of the harbor will be dredged more quickly than other parts because our channel is basically mud," he said. "So we have a lot of potential. And these cranes will be able to handle ships that haven't yet even been built. They are faster and higher and will allow us to handle more volume."
Vessel access to Global Terminal is through a straight 6,000-foot-long channel, 750 feet wide with a depth of 41 feet. The nearness of Global to the open sea can also save almost four hours for ships coming or going from those in the Port Newark area. The cranes are part of plans that include berth expansion, rail service, and the purchase of additional land.
"This will allow us to handle more freight sooner than anybody else in the area," Brady said. "The cranes are part of those plans."