World’s largest crane arrives in Bristol

Bristol Port has taken delivery of the largest crane in the world, the Sarens SCG-250 which can lift 5,000 tonnes at a radius of 50 metres. The machine is destined to undertake all the heaviest lifts required for the construction of the GBP 20 billion costing nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point C.

The crane was built and unveiled by Sarens last year and its first use will be at Hinkley, Britain’s first nuclear power plant in more than 20 years, where it is expected to be onsite for four years.

According to Sarens, the SGC-250 is the “mightiest crane in the world in both size and capacity.” It has a maximum load movement of 250,000 tonnes and its main boom can be extended from 118 to 160 metres, while the jib can be extended up to 100 metres, providing a height of up to 250 metres or a radius of 275 metres. At 50 metres radius, the crane can lift the equivalent of 32 single-storey houses or 1,600 cars at a radius of 50 metres. Most importantly, it has the ability to easily relocate from one lifting position to another, thanks to its modular design.

Noteworthy, modular design is exactly what inspired the Belgian crane manufacturer to develop the SGC-250 in the first place. In the past few years, Sarens has noticed an “increasing trend” of clients preferring to pre-assemble large portions of their constructions, called modules, in a controlled environment and then transport and lift them into their final position.

Sarens has named the crane Big Carl in honour of technical solutions, projects and engineering director, Carl Sarens.

Bristol Port

The SGC-250 was shipped to Avonmouth Dock from Sarens’ factory in Ghent. It will be stored at Bristol Port until it makes the short onward journey to the construction site in Somerset.

Miles Adams, Commercial Manager of Bristol Port, said: “The safe delivery, storage and onward travel of this critical infrastructure highlights the important role of Bristol Port plays as a muster point for Hinkley. We are proud to be a key hub in the logistical supply chain for one of the largest building projects in Europe over the next 10 years.”

Bristol Port has itself invested in new cranes to meet the ongoing demands of the Hinkley project, including its partnership with Hanson, which is expected to see more than a million tonnes of aggregate brought through the port destined for the new power plant. The Port has also earmarked land for the storage of Abnormal Indivisible Loads (AIL) equipment, that is too big to move on the motorway network and therefore will be taken down to Hinkley by barge.

The trend towards modular design will be one of the key topics of the Project Cargo Summit, a two-day international conference about the transport of large and heavy cargoes, which is organised by Promedia Group on the 11th & 12th of September, 2019 in Rotterdam. For more information about this dedicated project cargo and heavy-lift event, please visit

Author: Adnan Bajic

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