Shannahan Crane & Hoist

Why You Need a Portable Gantry Crane: A Closer Look

Predictions show that by 2031 the global gantry crane market will grow to a value of $3 billion.

There are several types of gantry cranes on the market each with different advantages and applications. Perhaps the most versatile of these is the portable gantry crane.

Gantry cranes are very useful in several industries, and yours may benefit more from a portable crane than other types. To find out why you need one, keep reading. 

What Is A Portable Gantry Crane?

A standard gantry crane consists up of two steel beams each supported by steel legs and a trolley that runs between the beams. The legs sit on rails on the floor that they can ride along, enabling the crane to straddle a workspace or object.

Portable gantry cranes are generally of a similar design, but usually, just have one beam and can be disassembled and reassembled with relative ease.

As they are portable they are smaller than most other types of gantry cranes and therefore have a more limited capacity. Most portable gantry cranes have a capacity of around half a ton up to five tons

Gantry Crane Uses

Many industries make use of gantry trains. Different types have applications such as rail yards and airports. Perhaps the most common type is a harbor freight gantry crane, used at shipping/container yards.

Portable gantry cranes have a limited load capacity but excellent versatility making them useful in many areas.


Being able to move a gantry crane from site to site with ease is a huge advantage for construction. Small loads such as concrete blocks, metal beams, and timber are essential on almost all construction sites, and portable gantry cranes are well suited to move such materials.

Manufacturing Plants

Manufacturing plants vary greatly, and as such make use of different types of gantry cranes.

Auto and aircraft manufacturers, for example, may make use of gantry cranes for engine placement/installation.

Repair Shops

Similar to auto manufacturers using gantry cranes for engine placement, repair shops may use them for engine removal. In such an environment a large gantry crane is not practical due to space constraints.

A portable gantry crane makes it easy to remove an engine and reposition it so that workers can get to it from all angles and carry out the necessary repairs.


Warehouses require a lot of versatility. Overhead cranes are not ideal due to the structure of most warehouses, so they will often use several gantry cranes for moving loads.

In a warehouse, environmental items will often need to be lifted and moved to different areas, which a static gantry crane would not be able to do. Portable gantry cranes are capable of this and can be disassembled to save space when not in use.

Advantages of a Portable Gantry Crane

Full-gantry cranes are the most common type, used for dedicated areas, and double girder gantry cranes are the largest with lifting capacities of up to 50 tons.

The size and permanence of these, however, is a drawback in some applications.


The main advantage of portable gantry cranes over other types is that they are not fixed in one location. They can be easily moved around to other work sites or manufacturing plants as needed.

Some are small enough to fit through tight gaps or doorways, so may not need to be disassembled if you are moving it from indoors to outdoors or vice versa.

Rather than having legs mounted on rails, these sit on wheels or casters so they are suitable for any flat surface.


Adjustable gantry cranes are another type, and these can come in fixed or portable versions. Portable gantry cranes are already very versatile, so one that is also adjustable provides even more flexibility.

It’s possible to adjust the width, height, and horizontal beam to meet the needs of a location or the specific load(s) being lifted.

Some are even made with independently adjustable lateral stands. Models with such a design can be used on uneven surfaces if need be. 

As with most lifting equipment, different arts and attachments are available. This includes things such as different casters, winches, and bumpers.

Indoor/Outdoor Use

Gantry cranes can be used outdoors, providing they are made of a suitable material or are properly protected. A steel gantry crane can have paint or finish applied to it that will protect it from the elements. Without this, there would be a risk of rust or corrosion.

Different Materials

Stainless or galvanized steel can also be ideal for outdoor use as they are corrosion resistant and hold up well against UV rays, salt water, moisture, and extreme temperatures.

An aluminum gantry crane will also be more resistant to the elements than standard steel. On top of this, aluminum is much lighter than steel. This makes them easier to transport, and they can often be assembled by just two people in a short time.

It should be noted, however, that aluminum is generally not as strong as steel, meaning aluminum cranes are not capable of lifting as heavy loads.

Choosing a Portable Gantry Crane

You may have already decided to invest in a portable gantry crane, but may still need to decide on a specific model.

Shanahan Crane & Hoist has several models available, and the one that is best for you will depend on your needs.

We have been helping businesses with their lifting solutions for over 60 years, so if you have any questions, click here to contact us today. We are always happy to help.

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