A mammoth shipment to the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor will keep workers busy this week as they handle components of a large crane soon heading to the BP Whiting Refinery, local and state port officials said.
The vessel carrying the crane — the Elandsgracht — made a trek from the Netherlands, and personnel from the port's general cargo stevedore, Federal Marine Terminals, began using equipment to unload the 190-piece shipment Monday. Workers from the International Longshoremen's Association and the International Union of Operating Engineers will manage the process, which is expected to take about eight days.
Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH, of Ehingen, Germany, manufactured the crane and calls it the largest crawler crane in the world. Crawler cranes are mobile cranes that are used to hoist and swing heavy loads in various directions.
When fully assembled, the crane weighs 1.65 million pounds, has a lifting capacity of more than 3,000 tons and stands 473 feet tall with its boom fully extended. The components will be stored at the port and then taken by truck during the next six weeks to the BP Whiting Refinery for its modernization project, according to a news release from the Ports of Indiana, the statewide port authority.
Mammoet Global BV will receive the shipment at the refinery.
"The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is a major hub for dimensional and mega project cargo shipments," Anthony Kuk, port director at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, said in a statement.
Kuk also touted the port's facilities and location as a way for companies to ship cargo by water directly into the Midwest. When compared to moving large loads over the highway, shipping by water significantly reduces transportation costs and permitting requirements, Kuk said.
A BP spokesman couldn't provide immediate comment on the arrival of crane components at the port.
The Portage port is one of three under the statewide port authority.