Marine Sector

Crane rail systems and ancillaries for the marine sector

Rail systems for Ports & Harbours

Gantrail have been supplying and installing crane rail systems in ports, harbours and shipyards from the companies earliest days. Early installations include a goliath crane track for a super tanker shipyard and bulk material handling for coal, iron ore and other raw materials for steel and aluminium manufacture as well as for power generation.

Crane Rail systems for Rail systems for Ports & Harbours
Crane Rail systems for Crane rail systems for container terminals

Crane rail systems for container terminals

Container operations at ports have been areas of considerable development in recent years. The increased size of vessels, increased weights of cranes and computer automation have had a significant impact on the loads the civil engineering structure have to carry from cranes and other machinery. Ship to shore cranes are now able to lift more than one container at a time. They can often employ sophisticated sway control on the movement of loads. The generation of new land from the sea can entail piling operations for the rail support beams. These move during construction and due to subsequent settlement. These movements must be absorbed without loss of rail positional accuracy. Besides the container cranes there are container handling and handling facilities including automatic stacking cranes (ASCs), rail mounted gantry cranes (RMGs), rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) and full intermodal facilities. Gantrail have been at the forefront of designs for crane rail applications in these applications.

Rail systems for Bulk Handling Ports

Ports involved with the bulk shipment of materials have to provide for the berthing of the ever increasing sizes of vessels as well as the facilities for receiving, holding blending and storage of the bulk materials. The port forms the railhead for sometimes distant mines, open cast workings and even chemical works. The ship loaders/unloaders have some similarities to container cranes but the bulk handling presents different challenges as they operate in an atmosphere, which is often dusty, as well as having a corrosive environment. Some ship to shore facilities are on piers that are located a significant distance off the shore with consequent higher environmental impact. On the landward side, there is often the challenge of building stockyards with stacker reclaimers on land that is not very stable. Accurate crane rail installation is a job for Gantrail.

Crane Rail systems for Rail systems for Bulk Handling Ports
Crane Rail systems for Crane rails for shipyards & shiplifts

Crane rails for shipyards & shiplifts

Shipbuilding has gone through changes in recent years. The largest of vessels are built in yards, which launch ships down slipways. Goliath cranes tighter with smaller machines do the lifting. Smaller vessels tend to be built in facilities where all the construction work is done at a single horizontal level. These are equipped with extensive rail systems to allow vessel sub-assemblies to be fabricated under cover and then, moved on a number of trolleys or cradles. Sub-assemblies are connected to finish the vessel which is then rolled to the lift for lowering into the sea. In some yards, there is a need to cater for significant design uplift forces on the rails and Gantrail have clips to meet these needs.

Specialists in design and support for crane rail interfaces worldwide

From ship to shore, power stations to international sporting venues, we are able to apply our proven expertise and engineering capability to fulfil the most complex and challenging of project needs.

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Providing full installation solutions

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Over 50 years expertise

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Technically adept support

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Range of specialist support services

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Crane Rails

Crane rails come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. The designs have been developed to meet individual countries requirements with some being squat and wide and others are taller and similar in shape to railway rails but they are all more robust. There are now only a few ‘families’ of rails with similar shapes and a range of sizes. Most crane rails range in head width from 45mm to 150mm. A common feature is a thick web to carry the load to the base. There are also a range of steel metallurgies. At their most basic they are made from high carbon manganese steel but some are more highly alloyed. They are all difficult to weld. Gantrail will normal comment on any chosen rail for a project or propose the most suitable choices.

Crane Rail Pads

It is an advantage if a rail can rotate a small amount around an axis along its length. This allows the rail to take up a position that matches the wheel and as a result reduces the compressive stresses in the tread of the wheel and the head of the rail. Gantrail supply steel reinforced crane rail pads that allow this. They have been proven in thousands of applications for over 50 years. They also eliminate the metal to metal contact and reduce corrosion between the rail and its support.

Crane Rail Fixing Clips

It is not practical to fasten crane rails rigidly to the support on which they are mounted. Rails need to be adjusted to the correct position and to be able to move small amounts along the support. They also need to be able to rotate about an axis along their length. But they should be fixed rigidly from significant sideways movement. Gantrail have developed a range of adjustable crane rail fixing clips for all sizes of rail. These can be fastened by means of bolting or by welding to a steel surface. Some in the range will resist the highest expected loads but other are compact and light and are for smaller applications.

Steel Soleplates & Bolts

Most sole plates look like simple plates of steel with many holes. But the challenge for the track system designer is to combine the requirements of the concrete foundations with its reinforcement and expansion joints with the needs of the rail system. Hole positioning is most important. There may be a need for rail fixed points and earthing. There is also a need for high accuracy sometimes combined with corrosion protection. Bolts for fixing sole plates need to be made such that they will not rotate on being tightened. Gantrail also supply more sophisticated system which allow for releveling a rail after installation.


The upper surface of poured concrete it very weak and will not support the loads imposed by a steel crane wheel. The surface needs to be cleared of soft material before the gap between the structural concrete and the steel sole filed with high strength grout. Gantrail supply two types of grout for the majority of applications. Some cases require the strength of an epoxy based system whereas others can accept special cement bases grouts. Smaller qualities of fast curing polyester grouts are used to secure bolts in premade holes in concrete.

Case Studies

We work on a diverse range of projects throughout the world, each bringing its own specific requirements, challenges and examples of best practice and innovation.

Port Botany

Port Botany in Sydney is Australia’s second largest container port. It was of strategic importance for Hutchison Ports, who were looking to increase...

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Aqaba Port

Aqaba Port

Aqaba is strategically important to Jordan as it is the country’s only seaport. The container port needed to be expanded to cope with a signific...

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Perth Arena Moving Roof

Perth Arena | Opening Roof

Drawing  upon their experience of similar projects around the world, the Gantrail design team supplied technical expertise – 89 kg Railtrack an...

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