FreightWaves Flashback 1982: New container box stacker for Jax Port is state of the art

container stacker

The many industries that make up the world of freight have undergone tremendous change over the past several decades. Each Friday, FreightWaves explores the archives of American Shipper’s nearly 70-year-old collection of shipping and maritime publications to showcase interesting freight stories of long ago.

The following is an excerpt from the July 1982 edition of the Jacksonville Seafarer.

The JPA (Jacksonville Port Authority) is getting a brand new container straddle lift for its new 25-acre container storage yard at the Blount Island Terminal.

The stacker is so new, in fact, that the JPA is one of the first buyers of the $637,000 piece of equipment.

The unit is being built by Marathon LeTourneau Co. at its Longview, Texas, plant and is expected to be delivered in early 1983 in time to service the yard and the JPA’s marginal container wharf expansion currently underway. 

The stacker will give the JPA what it considers an essential flexibility for handling boxes at the terminal.

Unlike present lifts used by the JPA, the new unit can pass over stacks of boxes four high (48 feet) and five wide (plus a truck lane, a total of 69 feet). The stackers presently in use can only load boxes from the side of a stack or can only pass over stacks three high.

“It allows us to make tremendous utilization of a limited amount of land,” explained JPA deputy managing director Cliff Mendoza, who pointed out that the agency was following the “skyscraper” concept — if you don’t have the space to spread out, go up. “We’re tight out there now, and this machine can go across any stack and pick out the box it needs without moving the others.”

The stacker, which LeTourneau refers to as its SST-100 model, has an expandable spreader attachment for lifting boxes from 20 to 40 feet and up to 80,000 pounds, and has a hoist speed of 35 feet per minute.