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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It didn't look like all that much. Just a big gray box, about twice as large as the shipping containers you see on passing railroad cars.
But the electrical transformer unloaded Saturday morning at the Port of Cleveland weighed 300 tons -- the heaviest object ever dropped off in the port's history.
Containers weighing 150 tons are common, said Eric Hirsiniak, the port's operations and facilities manger. But objects more than 200 tons are rare, coming through here about once every 10 years.
Built in England by the French power equipment company Alstom, the $9 million transformer had a monthlong journey by ship. It is headed for the Cardinal Power Plant in Brilliant, Ohio, near Steubenville.
A crane on the Dutch cargo ship Stella Prima had no trouble lifting the 20-foot-high, 33-foot-long transformer and lowering it onto the rail car, as workers guided it into the right place with ropes.
Of course, moving 300 tons of cargo can throw even a trans-oceanic cargo ship off balance, so the crew had to pause every few seconds to shift water ballast to keep the ship from tipping.
The transformer will be used to upgrade the plant, which is jointly owned by American Electric Power and Buckeye Power, said Ralph Leidy, a salesman for Alstom. It was ordered near the start of 2009.
Didn't convert the metrics but this is one big transformer! Took awhile to build it too!