A Guide to Port Cranes: 12 Types for Efficient Cargo Handling [Infographic]


In the dynamic and complex world of port transport, the efficient handling of cargo is paramount. This efficiency is largely achieved through the use of specialized cranes, each designed to handle specific tasks within port operations and Guide to Port Cranes.

Here, we explore 12 different types of cranes used in container, shipyard, and cargo handling, categorized into Port Cargo Handling, Cargo Transportation, and Ship Maintenance.

Port Cargo Handling

Ship To Shore Crane

Description: Guide to Port Cranes with Specialized equipment for loading and unloading of container ships at terminals.

Function: These cranes are critical for transferring containers between the ship and the dock efficiently, ensuring the swift movement of goods from sea to land.

Portal Crane

Description: Mainly used for loading and unloading containers or bulk materials in ports.

Function: Known for their versatility, portal cranes can handle a variety of cargo, including heavy bulk materials, aiding in diverse port operations.

Wheel Bucket Stacker Reclaimer

Description: Mainly used for loading and unloading bulk materials and small granular items on board ships.

Function: This crane type is essential for the bulk handling of materials such as coal or minerals, facilitating efficient stockpiling and reclaiming processes.

Screw Ship Unloader

Description: Specifically designed for unloading bulk materials, which is applied to seaports.

Function: Ideal for handling grain, cement, and other bulk materials, screw ship unloaders provide a continuous and efficient unloading process directly from the ship to the storage facilities.

Cargo Transportation

Straddle Carriers

Description: Typically undertakes horizontal transportation from the quay front to the yard and stacking of containers at the yard.

Function: Straddle carriers are crucial for the quick movement and stacking of containers within the port, enhancing operational speed and flexibility.

Reach Stacker

Description: Mainly used for stacking and horizontal transport of containers in terminals.

Function: These machines provide high stacking and long-reach capabilities, making them perfect for container handling in busy port environments.

Rail Mounted Container Gantry Cranes

Description: Used for lifting containers in inland terminals, railroad freight stations, coastal yards, or frontier terminals.

Function: These cranes are vital for intermodal operations, enabling the transfer of containers between rail and road transport systems.

Rubber Tyred Container Gantry Crane

Description: Widely used in port terminals and container yards for lifting containers.

Function: With mobility and also flexibility, rubber tyred gantry cranes can move containers across different areas of the terminal, improving efficiency in container stacking and relocation.

Automated Guided Vehicles

Description: Mainly used in ports to transport goods such as containers.

Function: AGVs automate the movement of containers within the terminal, reducing human intervention and enhancing operational safety and also efficiency.

Ship Maintenance

Shipbuilding Gantry Crane

Description: Dedicated to the transportation, docking, and reversing of large hull segments in shipyards.

Function: These massive cranes are essential in the shipbuilding process, handling large and also heavy components of ships with precision and reliability.

Shipyard Portal Cranes

Description: For lifting work in shipyards.

Function: These cranes are versatile tools in shipyards, used for a variety of lifting operations during the construction and also maintenance of ships.

Mobil Boat Crane

Description: Used for boat loading and launching operations and horizontal transportation on yachts and other small and also medium-sized boats.

Function: Mobil boat cranes facilitate the easy movement of smaller vessels, aiding in efficient boat handling and also transport within the shipyard.


The diverse types of cranes used in port transport are integral to the seamless operation of global trade and logistics. Each crane type, from those handling cargo to those involved in ship maintenance, plays a specialized role that enhances the overall efficiency and also productivity of port activities.

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