By Paul Gessler

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New cranes for the Port of Baltimore halted traffic on land and in the bay Thursday.

The ship lumbered up the Chesapeake Bay after more than two months at sea.

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“That vessel, it had quite a journey,” said William Doyle, MDOT MPA Executive Director.

It began in Shanghai and was delayed due to hurricanes but on Thursday, traffic on the Chesapeake Bay and Key Bridges were shut down temporarily.

“Because cars going across might see that and it would catch their attention,” said Greg Slater, MDOT.

The ship barely cleared the bay bridge with four feet to spare.

“In our industry, that’s plenty of clearance,” said Bayard Hogans, Port America Chesapeake.

Longshoremen paused as the ship made its final approach toward the port.

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“For the men and women of the ILA, it’s more jobs,” said Scott Cowan. “That’s what’s going through their minds. And more work opportunities,” said Scott Cowman.

The cranes will stand 450 feet tall with the goal of doubling the port’s container capacity after the Howard street tunnel project is complete.

“It’s really focused on increasing capacity here at the port of Baltimore to support the Howard street tunnel expansion,” said Bayard Hogan, Ports of America Chesapeake.

Once the cranes are operational in 2022, they’ll be able to offload ships that are 23 containers wide.

“A little higher boom, a little higher in the air,” said Hogans.

“Continue to increase production here and this is just one more step that is going to help us in that direction,” said Governor Larry Hogan.

Officials said it will take several weeks to offload the cranes that arrived Thursday. More are due to arrive this spring.

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Paul Gessler