Source: European Commission.

Lifting equipment is often referred to as Lo-Lo, short for Lift on – Lift off. Where vertical handling is concerned, and especially at ports, it is necessary to distinguish between « ship-to-shore » and the « stack » as well as the resources in place to provide the link between the two. There are many tools and systems used but the main trends can be observed in sea, rail and waterway terminals handling freight containers and swap bodies. Bulk loads and non-containerised goods generally require other handling tools.

Photo source: Grand Port Maritime du Havre (GPMH).


Ship-to-shore portainers (or STS) are used to transfer cargo from the ship to the wharf and vice versa. They are of various sizes and capacities.

Portainers used for ship-to-shore operations. The over-water “boom” of the portainer in the foreground is elevated to allow the ship’s bridge to pass underneath.

There are also mobile harbour cranes used for ship-to-shore loading and unloading of ocean-going ships, feeders and barges. Cranes can move along the quay and rest on feet during handling for both support and stability. Mobile cranes work equally well with containers and with conventional cargo (bulk, heavy items, miscellaneous goods) – only a change of handling tool is required. The mobile port crane is an alternative to the gantry crane by virtue of its greatly reduced cost and comparable productivity.

Photo source: Photothèque Delmas.