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Often used in bulk cargo loading operations, gantry cranes are bridge cranes mounted on legs that run along a set of fixed rails or similar track. The term is also applied to portable bridge cranes that are set on wheels or other rollers. A bridge crane involves a hoisting apparatus mounted on a crossbar or other bridge-like structure suspended between at least two legs over the material to be hoisted.

Because of their inherently sturdy design, gantry cranes are employed in a wide range of heavy transport applications, from lifting and moving locomotives for repair and maintenance to the unloading of multi-ton shipping cargo. In fact, some gantry cranes have lifting capacities that rate over 65 tons; these devices are typically used for loading and unloading massive international shipping containers. Even certain portable models can lift 5-ton loads, which makes them well suited to small material handling tasks, as well as on-location construction and warehousing applications.

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