Port: Largest shipping cranes to operate in US have arrived

What are said to be the largest cranes to operate at a commercial port in the U.S. have arrived in Virginia

Spectators crowd a pier as they watch a Chinese ship carrying giant cranes approach the entrance to Hampton Roads in Hampton, Va., Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. The four new ship- to-shore cranes are part of the $320 million expansion of Virginia International Gateway. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- What are said to be the largest cranes to operate at a U.S. commercial port have arrived in Virginia.

Monday's delivery from China marked the latest effort to accommodate the increasingly mammoth container ships that underpin international trade.

Shipping companies are using fewer but larger container ships to save on costs. And economists say an "arms race" is underway at ports along the Atlantic seaboard to make room for them.

Projects include dredging deeper channels in Georgia and South Carolina. Part of a bridge has been elevated to allow bigger ships to reach New York City-area ports.

The Chinese-made gantry cranes that arrived at the Port of Virginia stand about 170 feet (52 meters) tall. They'll operate at a terminal in the city of Portsmouth.