Four container cranes from China made the headlines when they slipped under the Golden Gate Bridge with only 11 feet to spare. The next morning, on October 25, 2000, the cranes went under the Bay Bridge, this time with only 25 inches to spare.
These container cranes, among the world’s largest, were procured by Port of Oakland with Liftech’s help and review.
Michael A. Jordan, founder and CEO of Liftech Consultants Inc., worked on the first container crane in 1958. He sees a new world when he looks at Port of Oakland’s new ZPMC cranes sitting on the bay, and he speaks of the new Silk Road:
“For over two thousand years, the Silk Road to the west carried caravans of products from China to the western world and from the western world to China. Ideas and cultures were exchanged along with the products. Those striking cranes that sit on the bay today have made a voyage from east to west on the new Silk Road. That new Silk Road bridging east and west has been forged through containerization.
Forty years ago, the Port of Oakland recognized the importance of the then revolutionary idea of containerized marine cargo. Oakland staked its future on containerization, and Oakland was right. But at the time we were designing the world’s first quay cranes, we did not anticipate the impact that containerization would have on the world. We did not foresee that the character of the world would change. We did not foresee global resourcing and global factories.
Container traffic has become more than moving products between ports. We are moving resources to manufacturers and components between manufacturers. Only the final move is moving products to markets. For example, computer chips are manufactured in California, shipped to Asia for assembly in computers, and then the final move – computers are shipped to the global market. Global resourcing and global factories are the reason container traffic is growing faster than the global economy.
In 1958, we did not know that container traffic would double every fourteen years in the ensuing forty years, and that Liftech would be involved in the design of over 1,000 quay cranes. In 1958, who would have believed that in 1998, the Port of Oakland would be buying cranes from a company in the Peoples Republic of China?
But here we are. Oakland and ZPMC make a good team, and Liftech is proud to be part of that team. We who are building the ports of the world are in an exciting, challenging, and rewarding business. And the road gets better every day.”