A container crane (also container handling gantry crane or ship-to-shore crane) is a type of large dockside gantry crane found at container terminals for loading and unloading intermodal containers from container ships.
Container cranes at Kochi Port Container cranes consist of a supporting framework that can traverse the length of a quay or yard on a rail track. Instead of a hook, they are equipped with a specialized handling tool called a spreader. The spreader can be lowered on top of a container and locks onto the container's four locking points (corner castings) using a twistlock mechanism. Cranes normally transport a single container at once, but some newer cranes have the capability to pick up two to four 20-foot containers at once. The crane is driven by an operator who sits in a cabin suspended from the trolley. The trolley runs along rails located on the top or sides of the boom and girder. The operator runs the trolley over the ship to lift the cargo, usually containers. Once the spreader locks onto the container, the container is lifted, moved over the dock, and placed on a truck chassis (trailer) to be taken to the storage yard. The crane also lifts containers from chassis on the dock to load them onto the ship.
Straddle carriers, sidelifts, reach stackers, or container lorries then manoeuvre underneath the crane base and collect the containers, rapidly moving them away from the dock and to a storage yard. Flatcars or well cars may also be loaded directly beneath the crane base. Cranes were used in harbors starting in the Middle Ages (see crane: harbor usage and list of historical harbour cranes). Modern inter-modal containerization emerged in the mid-1950s from transport strategies developed in the Second World War and the Korean War, and the development of specialized cranes paralleled developments in containerization.
The first container crane was built by Paceco (formerly the Pacific Coast Engineering Company) for Matson at the Encinal Terminal in Alameda, California in 1959