Container cranes are the link between the waterside and landside, including truck and rail connections or the container yard used for short-term storage. The number and size of cranes affects the number and sizes of container vessels a terminal can service simultaneously. The top 25 container ports operated a total of 528 ship-to-shore gantry cranes in 2022, up 24 from 504 in 2019.  This increase is due to the purchase of cranes at new and existing container terminals. This includes the addition of reactivated terminals or the repurposing of other terminals. Of ship-to-shore gantry cranes, 294 are classified as super post-Panamax, which are the most capable.  Other marine terminals at ports may use mobile harbor cranes, or container vessels may be equipped with ship's gear to unload/load cargo or transport containers onto trailers (e.g., Anchorage, San Juan).
Several ports are currently replacing their container cranes and/or have container terminal improvement projects underway. The inventory of cranes and cranes by size is constantly in flux. The following figure shows the number of container cranes used to unload/load container vessels.
 A crane mounted on a “gantry;” a frame or structure spanning an intervening space, often a workspace. The gantry may be mounted on wheels. The top 25 ports for each category (tonnage, container, and dry bulk) are based upon the 2020 port rankings published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center. Cranes include those at active marine terminal, based upon U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics analysis, using AIS data from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS) archive, processed by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory's AIS Analysis Package (AISAP) software package.
 A class of crane that can fully un-/load intermodal shipping containers from the largest containerships approximately 18 containers or greater in width.