The ZPMC rail mounted gantry crane (RMG) was manufactured by Zhenhua Port Machinery Company in Shanghai, and is the latest of two crane acquisitions by the Port of Felixstowe’s parent company, Hutchison Ports, aimed at servicing increasingly high throughput of traffic at the UK’s busiest rail freight operation.

Delivered in 2010, the ZPMC RMG has replaced some of the port’s older freight handling equipment, providing some much needed support for the port’s latest expansion at Berths 8 and 9, scheduled to become operational in 2011.

The crane is 28.72m wide from buffer to buffer, and stands at 22.26m at its highest point.

Featuring a single hoist motor, the ZPMC RMG can lift 40t under the 38.45m wide spreader up to 9.8m, with a maximum laden hoist speed of 23m per minute.

Unladen, this increases to 50m per minute, while the gantry itself moves at speeds of up to 140m per minute.

With the extra 730m of deep-water quay being constructed capable of accommodating Post-Panamax vessels, a fast, efficient crane was vital at the South Rail Terminal.

Hutchison Ports head of corporate affairs, Paul Davey, explained: “We already put more containers on more trains to more destinations than any other UK port, and this latest investment will help provide our customers with further sustainable transport options.”

The UK government’s commitment to developing a more sustainable freight transport strategy was outlined in two white papers published in 2004, entitled ‘The Future of Rail’ and ‘The Future of Transport: A Network for 2030’.

Commenting on the developments at the port, transport minister Theresa Villiers said: ”This new crane will help increase the volume of freight traffic on our railways which will benefit hundreds of businesses across the UK who rely on daily deliveries.

“Enabling more containers to be carried by rail will also help divert freight traffic from our roads, relieving congestion. It also reflects our commitment to investing in our railways, which are vital to our economic growth.”