Port of San Diego Purchases All-Electric Mobile Harbor Cranes, First in North America

Konecranes Gottwald
Konecranes Gottwald
Three of Konecranes’ Gottwald Generation 6 Mobile Harbor Cranes. Photo: Konecranes.

In support of its clean air initiatives, the Port of San Diego has purchased two all-electric Konecranes Gottwald Generation 6 Mobile Harbor Cranes to replace a diesel-powered crane currently in use at the POSD’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, the port revealed in late February.

San Diego has said that the all-electric, battery-supported mobile harbor cranes will be the first in use in North America and would support its Maritime Clean Air Strategy and its “Health Equity for All” vision while also increasing the terminal’s productivity and cargo business opportunities.

The port has said that it anticipates receiving and putting the cranes into operation in mid-2023.

In January, San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners authorized a purchase agreement with Germany-based machinery builder and service company Konecranes, which has an office in San Diego.

The final cost for the cranes, according to the port, is $14 million, which is budgeted in the port’s Economic Recovery Program. The program was established in support of the about $100 million in federal stimulus funds the POSD anticipates receiving in total via the federal America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the State of California’s Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund.

The port has already received $61.4 million.

“We have designated a significant portion of our federal stimulus funds to electrification—about $25 million—for zero-emission equipment just like the all-electric cranes from Konecranes,” Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Dan Malcolm explained.

“This is just the start of us delivering on our promise to do our part in improving air quality and public health,” he added. “It’s also an excellent example of how we can meet our clean air and environmental goals while supporting business and job growth.”

The Konecranes Gottwald all-electric mobile harbor crane system just became commercially available in 2021. The conversion of San Diego’s diesel-powered mobile harbor crane to a fully electric mobile harbor crane system would eliminate all nitrogen oxides (NOx) and diesel particulate matter.

Konecranes Gottwald
A rendering of the design of two all-electric Konecranes Gottwald Generation 6 Mobile Harbor Cranes that have been purchased by Port of San Diego. Photo: POSD.

At the same time, carbon dioxide equivalent emissions would decrease substantially, if the electrical grid has a much lower greenhouse gas emissions factor per unit of activity compared to diesel.

“Konecranes has been working closely with the Port of San Diego for over 20 years, and we’re delighted that the first all-electric Konecranes Gottwald Generation 6 mobile harbor cranes in the Americas will make history as the right solution for the port’s current needs,” Konecranes Senior Sales Manager Andreas Moeller said.

The conversion from a diesel-powered crane to an all-electric crane system moves San Diego closer to a long-term goal of its Maritime Clean Air Strategy—100% zero-emission cargo handling equipment by 2030—and is ahead of California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations.

In addition to the environmental and public health benefits, the new crane system would represent the heaviest lift capability of any crane system currently in place on the West Coast, according to the POSD, and would enable San Diego to attract additional business opportunities due to the increased maximum lift capacity—up to 400 metric tons as opposed to the 100 MT lifting capacity of the port’s diesel crane.

“Most of the heavy-lift cargoes destined for this region weigh more than 200 MT, including larger pieces of solar, wind and industrial energy equipment as well as project cargoes,” the port explained in a statement. “The new cranes will allow the port to compete for more business, further capitalizing on the space unlocked by the TAMT (Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal) Modernization project and the growth forecasted in the larger TAMT Redevelopment Plan. With their heavier capacity and faster offloading speed, the new cranes will also better serve our existing operations when crane movements are needed.”

The TAMT, one of San Diego’s two marine cargo terminals, serves as an omni-cargo terminal consisting of a 96-acre facility and handles breakbulk, bulk, container and project cargos, such as transformers for regional utilities, in addition to steel and engines used in local shipbuilding.