By Gordon Rago
The Virginian-Pilot |
Jun 02, 2021 at 5:00 PM
Take a scroll through GovDeals, an online marketplace, and you’ll find that the state of South Carolina is selling four pallets of baking powder for $300. Dig deeper and you’ll find a $19,000 Chevy Impala being sold in Lexington, Kentucky and a $500 lightly-scratched pool table sold by Bowling Green State University.
The Virginia Port Authority just listed the roughly 250-foot cranes for sale on the website at $50,000 a piece. It’s also selling replacement crane parts, also for $50,000.
The three cranes are in good working condition and are sitting at Portsmouth Marine Terminal. They were installed in 2004 and crane operators used them to load and unload containers from ships. The terminal has three other cranes on site but those are damaged and could be auctioned off at a later date, said Joe Harris, a port spokesman.
It might seem odd that the port is selling off this sort of equipment now. It’s been expanding its two other container facilities, and two years ago welcomed four towering cranes to Virginia International Gateway to efficiently handle growing capacity.
But the Portsmouth Marine Terminal has been closed to container traffic since May when the port cited slowdowns caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The port has other ideas for the roughly 300 acres of waterfront property, mostly as a “multi-purpose facility,” port officials have said. One immediate use: staging area for equipment for Virginia’s offshore wind project. Harris said they will keep one crane in operation there in case they decide to handle any ship cargo.
During the pandemic, the port also allowed a cruise company to park two of its ships there.
The auction for the Portsmouth cranes ends June 23. It ends June 30 for the replacement parts. Whoever ends up buying them will likely get a good deal: the cranes have an estimated value of $600,000. They were built by Shanghai-based Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co., or ZPMC. They’re the “second largest modern container cranes,” according to a GovDeals news release.
“We hope that by offering these cranes well-under market value, a potential buyer would be more inclined to go through the extensive removal process these cranes will require,” Al Collado, director of terminal services for the port’s operating subsidiary, Virginia International Terminals, said in a statement released by GovDeals. “We are willing to collaborate with the buyer as they put together their plan to get these cranes to their new homes.”
More likely than not the buyer will be another port.
But the cranes are being auctioned off to the general public. Just make sure you show up with enough horsepower to get them out of there.
Gordon Rago, 757-446-2601, firstname.lastname@example.org