PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- Crews at the Port of Virginia welcomed the Happy Buccaneer on Friday morning.
The heavy load vessel was carrying six new cranes all the way from Poland. CEO John Reinhart said each crane on board costs about $2.5 million. As the port expands, more cranes will be added.
In total, 86 will be added to the ports; 26 will be at the Port of Virginia and 60 will call Norfolk International Terminals home.
Reinhart said, "The motor carriers' service will improve because we will have more lanes to deliver the cargo to the trucks. We will have more capacity to move the cargo to the rail."
The cranes, referred to as the centerpieces of the port's $695 million expansion, will help the port load containers on and off ships. They will also enable them to handle some of the biggest ships.
In November 2016, the port finalized a $217 million contract with Konecranes for the company to build and deliver 86 cranes. The contract is the largest one-time order for cranes in industry history.
Reinhart said the measure will help ensure that the port will be sustainable and grow. He believes growing the ports will add about 320,000 jobs for Virginians.
"We have more people coming through with the motor carriers because of more freights happening, that creates more jobs. We have more people working on the docks, which creates jobs," Reinhart explained.
The six cranes are expected to start operating by April. Happy Buccaneer is expected to leave Sunday afternoon and head back to Poland. It will be back at the Port of Virginia in six to seven weeks.