Port of Oakland Cranes? Star Wars AT-AT Walkers?

Port of Oakland Cranes Vs. AT AT Walkers
You have probably heard the ongoing urban legend that George Lucas got his idea for the Star Wars AT-AT Walkers from the Port of Oakland Shipping Container Cranes while flying into Oakland International Airport (OAK). Can it be confirmed? Who knows the truth. I think it’s highly possible because he does live here in the North Bay at Skywalker Ranch in Marin, CA.
port of oakland cranes at at walkers star wars

However George Lucas says he did not get his Star Wars AT AT Walker idea from the Port of Oakland Cranes. Is this true? Would he give the Shipping Container Cranes in Oakland the credit for his ATAT Walkers? Or would he say it is obviously an unique idea created purely by his own imagination?

Do you think the Star Wars Walker rumor is true?

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Oakland Cranes

Oakland is now home to 22 of these Super Post-Panamax container cranes. These Shipping Cranes are some of the biggest in the world. So huge in fact that when they shipped them from China they only had 9 feet of clearance between the shipping cranes and the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Each huge crane stands 253 feet tall which is about a 25 story building. The boom when fully extended is 210 feet and can span across a 24 container wide ship. The huge cranes are able to lift a massive 145,000 lbs each and can unload about 35 shipping containers per hour.
But that all comes at a price. Each Crane is estimated 5.5 million dollars but after shipping and all comes out to an estimated $7 million dollars each.
This is all in time for the Port of Oakland’s Maritime expansion project which dredged the shipping canal to -50 feet to cater to Post-Panamax cargo ships of the maritime industry.

MSC Fabiloa – Largest Container Ship to ever port in North America
The expansions and Port of Oakland upgrades have paid off. On March 21st 2012 the MSC Fabiola Ultra-Large Class Container Ship docked at the Port of Oakland. The MSC Fabiola is the largest container ship to ever dock in North America. The container ship can hold up to 6,000(average sized) containers and is nearly a quarter mile long at 12,00 feet. The ship is 55 stories long and can travel up to 25 knots.

Good thing our modernized shipping cranes and port can handle the load of this Ultra-Large Class Container Ship. This is a new class of container ships which are said to have increased fuel economy for large Pacific shipping routes. Out of the worlds current 5,000 container ships the MCS Fabiola is 1 of only 71 in this Ultra-Large Class.

After the Port of Oakland the MSC Fabiola will set sail for China and the voyage should take about 18 days. This class ship usually stays in the Asia Europe trade routes and this is the first time one has made it to the US.

The huge cranes at the Port of Oakland are used to unload massive cargo ships. The Port of Oakland is the 4th largest port in the Nation as far as shipping container tonnage movement. The Port of Oakland moves 99% of Northern California’s shipping industry goods through it. We handle a lot of business here in Oakland in and out. The Port of Oakland also includes the Oakland International Airport.

The Port of Oakland still has to get rid of it’s old low profile cranes to make room for the new massive cranes. So they are recycling them. Putting them on a barge and shipping them to the Port of Boston. Pretty funny considering the huge baseball rivalry between the Oakland A’s and the Boston Red Sox.

Shipping routes below.
shipping routes

Planes crossing the Atlantic. Not related but pretty awesome.

*updated* May 4th. (Star Wars Day)
May the 4th be with you.

First posted Friday, July 04, 2008 2:33 PM


  1. jld_oakland says

    I’m convinced it is an urban legend – one that I’m just as guilty of propagating before I knew better and I still wear the T-shirt proudly. However since Lucas himself has denied it -http://3.ly/O7O – there is little point in pretending. It is not like he gains anything by denying it. I admit it is more than possible that there is a subliminal influence involved, designers are notorious for being susceptible to stuff they see around them, whether they realize or not. We do know that he spent a considerably amount of time in the area while filming parts of his first movie THX 1138 in the Webster Tube

  2. Thaddeus Setla says

    I like what you are doing and I am interested in talking with you about using some of your pictures of Oakland for our TV Series… contact me at your convenience.

    Thaddeus Setla
    Chronicles of EMS – Series Creator

  3. says

    check out supershadow.com. You might find evidence there to dispel Lucas' own claim that he didn't get his idea for the AT-AT Walkers from the Port of Oakland cranes.

  4. Michael Gittelsohn says

    The ship is 55 stories tall? 8 feet * 55 stories = 440 feet, but the Golden Gate Bridge is only 220 feet above the mean water level. 25 knots per hour? A knot is already a speed. A knot per hour is a rate of acceleration.

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