Barnhart Crane and Rigging Completes Container Crane Roll Back

Aug 20, 2003

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.)—Barnhart Crane and Rigging Co., a leading provider of heavy rigging and transportation solutions, recently completed the roll back of a 1,008-ton container crane at the Georgia Ports Authority’s Port of Savannah.

Barnhart was to remove the rail-mounted crane from its track at the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal on the Savannah River and roll it back some 300 feet to allow other cranes to be repositioned along the rails. Afterwards, the curve-capable crane was moved back to its track.

Richard Cox, general manager of maintenance at the Georgia Ports Authority, explained that the primary reason for repositioning the cranes was to separate two wide-based cranes. “Having the two cranes next to each other didn’t allow for single base separation. Cranes must be about 88 feet, six inches at their wheel base to allow single base separation, these were over 100 feet. Separating the cranes will mean that the wide-base cranes will have less of an impact on our vessel operations.”

The crane stood more than 250 feet in height and had a footprint larger than that of a Major League Baseball diamond.

A Barnhart Crane engineering team worked closely with the Port Authority to develop an innovative method to move the container crane off of the reinforced crane rails and onto the dock surface without damaging the structure of the dock.

According to Matt Lanham, Operations and Engineering, Barnhart Crane and Rigging Co., “The system we selected called for using four separate tracks of Barnhart’s slide system. The slide beams rested upon barge ramps that were positioned to accurately locate the load across the port’s piles.”

Slide system pushers were placed at eight critical locations. A Barnhart crew from the company’s Knoxville, Tenn., office oversaw the synchronization of the eight pushers. Each leg moved an equal distance as the massive crane slid off its rails.

“The next challenge came once the crane cleared the pile caps,” Lanham said. “Greater ground bearing allowed Barnhart personnel to then go to the typical two track slide system.” Transitioning from four tracks to two improved the speed of the project and helped to keep costs down, but to do so required that the curve-capable bogies be secured to prevent their turning or rocking. The Barnhart team utilized heavy duty pipe stands to achieve this. The pipe stands were positioned, shimmed and welded in place to prevent movement while pushing the crane.

The entire operation took four and a half days from the time the crane was lifted until it was back in place on its rails.

According to Richard Cox, of the Georgia Ports Authority, “Barnhart worked ‘round the clock to have minimal impact on our operations. They worked very hard and did a great job. Their team performed safely with no impact to the dock or the crane.”

The Georgia Ports Authority’s Garden City Terminal features the largest single-terminal complex with the longest contiguous dock on the U.S. East Coast. The containerport provides more than 7,600 linear feet of docking space at seven berths, with both covered and open storage space dedicated to the needs of high-speed container, general cargo and roll on/roll off operations.

Barnhart Crane and Rigging, established in 1969, is a leading national supplier of specialized heavy rigging and transportation solutions. The company, now with 13 locations across the United States, also provides crane services, machinery moving, and plant relocations, as well as project cargo logistics and heavy equipment storage at its 100-acre, 700,000-square-foot warehouse facility in Memphis, Tenn. Barnhart Crane and Rigging, an ISO 9001 certified supplier, also operates terminal facilities at the Port of Memphis and the deepwater Port of Mobile, Ala. For more information, visit

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