Behind the wheel of a $1.25 million machine
Darren Brown drove straddles at Lyttelton Port for eight years before retiring in March 2016. He made it look easy but recalls the challenge of mastering the $1.25 million machine. Check out the video.
“When I first hopped into a straddle I thought this is totally out of my comfort zone. But after a week in the straddle – time in the seat – I started to get my confidence up.” Straddles pick up and deliver the containers in Lyttelton Port’s Container Terminal. Drivers receive instructions on the screen in their cab about what container to pick up and where to deliver it in the Container Terminal. When trucks come in loaded with a container, a straddle will pick up the container from it and deliver it to where it is to be stored in the yard. They take containers to and from the ships as they are being loaded and unloaded.
There are 24 straddles and when a number of them are manoeuvring between the container stacks, to and from the trucks and past the cranes it’s like a dance of huge multi-million dollar machinery – and riveting to watch.
LPC Straddle Drivers are part of the Port’s 24/7 operations. The drivers work shifts and get to know each other pretty well.
“The best thing about working at Lyttelton Port was the people. Great people. The camaraderie made it a good job – and getting to play with the big toys.”