A modified barge-mounted, twin-boom crane recently put to work in the Port of Charleston is thought to be the largest floating crane in the southeast.

The Charleston Giant can lift up to 900,000 pounds, and is operated by Charleston Heavy Lift, a new joint-venture between local barge carrier Stevens Towing and heavy-hauling and rigging company, JE Oswalt & Sons of Batesburg, SC.

Giant was rebuilt earlier this year by Charleston Heavy Lift from a smaller crane that had been moving construction modules at nearby Goose Creek. The crane has been built so that the Port of Charleston can attract cargos, previously directed to other ports, needing specialized heavy-lift equipment. Cargo on the target list includes heavy machinery, equipment components such as power turbines, generators and presses, heavy construction components such as bridge beams, and cranes.

The Giant's first commercial lift was to transport a 700,000 pound crane from its old barge to a new one and it has also been used to lift two turbines each weighing 470,000 pounds. Last month (June) the crane was due to lift 460,000 pound boilers for a petrochemical plant and a tire press for a facility in Lexington, KY.

According to Charleston Heavy Lift, Giant has the highest capacity rating in the Southeast and the closest floating crane of similar capacity, which can lift up to 700,000 pounds (200,000 pounds less than Giant), is in Norfolk, VA.

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