2 Port cranes could disappear

rboone@theolympian.comMarch 11, 2013 

The Port of Olympia Commission will consider at its meeting today whether to surplus its two marine terminal cranes, a decision that could alter the city’s skyline for the first time in years.

The two approximately 190-foot structures have been fixtures at the port since 1996. The two cranes were busiest when the Russian container line Sunmar used them to move containers through the port in the late 1990s. That relationship ended when the Russian economy failed.

If the commission approves the surplus plan for the cranes, they will be put up for bid, either to sell or have them removed, port finance director Jeff Smith said. Smith will present the proposal today, according to the agenda.

A recent crane consultant’s study found that the two cranes were no longer fit for commercial use and that certain parts for the cranes have become obsolete, Smith said.

The port also is looking to maximize its marine terminal space after announcing a fourth tenant, PacArctic Logistics of Alaska, which is expected to deliver a monthly shipment of goods to the Anchorage area by barge. The PacArctic lease takes effect this month and the first barge is expected in April, marine terminal director Jim Amador recently told The Olympian.

The other marine terminal tenants at the port are Weyerhaeuser, Pacific Lumber and Shipping and Rainbow Ceramics.

Another factor facing the cranes is that the container business likely won’t return to the port due to consolidation in the industry.

The port already has written off the book value of the cranes, which was $1.8 million, and the cost to remove them, which was about $400,000, Smith said.

He added that the port has received interest in the cranes from someone who wants to buy them for scrap.

One of the cranes also is home to nesting peregrine falcons.

Smith said the port would work with a state agency, such as the Department of Fish and Wildlife, to move them to an “appropriate, agreed upon” location at the end of their nesting season.

The two cranes were purchased used from the Port of Los Angeles for $4.4 million in 1996, an expense that included the cost to transport and upgrade, in addition to the base cost of $583,000.

New cranes cost about $10 million, marine terminal director Amador said at a port presentation about the cranes last July. Upgrade costs came in at $1.67 million.

A state-of-the art mobile crane, which would be able to roam the marine terminal, costs $5 million new and $2 million to $3 million used, according to the July presentation.

If you go

The Port of Olympia Commission meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. today at the LOTT board room, 500 Adams St. NE, Olympia.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog

The Olympian is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service