SOUTHPORT N.C. (June 19, 2012) -- After more than 10 years of planning and $27.5 million, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's 596th Transportation Brigade at Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, Southport, N.C., received two new massive, and much needed, ship-to-shore container gantry cranes today.

The two huge cranes, manufactured by Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Company, LTD, South Korea, departed the country April 9, via Foss Maritme's tug, Harvey Titan, and once operational, will provide greater speed and efficiencies of vessel operations for munitions movements.

With the crane's arrival at Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, or MOTSU, the installation process will begin and full operational capability is expected by the end of August.

"Receiving the two cranes completes our Center Wharf modernization plan and enables MOTSU to increase its throughput capacity," said Col. Joseph Calisto, 596th commander at MOTSU. "These cranes will also enhance our Explosive Safety program by reducing container handling requirements, while increasing velocity of vessel operations and shortening vessel berth times. Safety and security is improved as a result of reduced exposure and potential risk."

Weighing in at 3.7 million pounds each, the cranes are capable of reaching out to 173 feet and lifting 134,000 pounds of cargo, which supports the brigade's vessel operations on the Center Wharf. This is a major improvement above the current smaller South Wharf cranes which were installed in 1974.

"We currently have two smaller cranes which are first-generation ship-to-shore cranes," said Don Parker, 596th deputy to the commander at MOTSU. "Even though they are still operational, they are becoming harder to maintain."

"Receiving this capability (new cranes) will allow us to more than double our container movement capability at each crane and potentially allow us to work more than one ship at a time," Calisto explained.

MOTSU currently has three wharfs for vessel operations -- North, Center and South.

Over the past decade, MOTSU has been heavily investing in upgrading the 57-year-old terminal with refurbished rail tracks; electrical, plumbing and masonry upgrades on some of the older buildings; lightning protection systems, security towers and road improvements, to name a few.

The contract for the gantry cranes was awarded to Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Company, LTD, July 9, 2010.

MOTSU is the largest ammunition port in the nation, about 16,000 acres, and the Army's primary east coast deep-water port.