Gantry cranes in action

A gantry is a bridge-like structure, with side supports, enabling it to span, to be, over something.
A gantry crane is exactly that: a crane, which thanks to its supporting side and cross beams, can straddle, be placed above cargo, and approach it from this position.

An ultra simplified diagram of a gantry crane
Ultra simplified diagram of a gantry crane

Container gantry cranes are specialized gantry cranes and are used to easily load containers on and off vessels and trailers, as well as reposition them inside a container yard.

2 main types exist:

The ship to shore container gantry crane which, as its name indicates, is specialized in loading containers on and off ships or vessels.
You can see below an example of such a crane – you can note the main crossbeam, the arm of the crane, extends pass the supporting side, hence enabling it to reach above the awaiting container vessel.
This specific one has a lifting capacity of 75 tons and has enough range to accommodate Panamax type vessels and their possible 13 rows of containers.

A ship to shore container gantry crane in the port of Leixoes - used in our logistics training courses
A ship to shore container gantry crane in the port of Leixoes

The land container gantry crane of which 2 main sub-types exist the rail-mounted type and the tyred type.

A picture showing side by side a railed gantry crane and a tired one. Used in our logistics training and articles.
A railed gantry crane compared to tyred gantry crane

The below picture represents a railed gantry crane from the port of Bilbao in Spain – currently in the process of transferring a tank container from a container chassis to a rail car. Most likely the tank container arrived on a container vessel earlier and was transferred to the container chassis thanks to a ship-to-shore gantry crane, before being brought here to be transshipped to the train. Making this a perfect example of an intermodal transport.

A railed container gantry crane in the port of Bilbao - used in our logistics training courses
A railed container gantry crane in the port of Bilbao.

Finally, below you can find a short and limited quality video to document some ship to shore and rail-mounted gantry cranes in action at the Port of Leixoes in Portugal.