RESIDENTS and freeway commuters last Thursday witnessed a giant crane on a Chinese ship scrape under the West Gate Bridge with 2.4metres to spare.
The Zhen Hua 26 carried a 104.5-metre-high crane, as high as St Patrick's Cathedral. It was the first of three such cranes to be delivered to Patrick Stevedores at Swanson Dock East.
At low tide, two Port Phillip sea pilots guided the vessel up the Yarra River before completing a 180-degree turn to berth at the northern end of East Swanson Dock. Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) chief executive officer Stephen Bradford said the crane would boost productivity at Australia's busiest container port.
"As vessel sizes increase, the port needs the accompanying infrastructure to handle those vessels efficiently," he said.
The crane would be used to load and unload 7000 containers daily.
Two more are expected to be delivered early next year.