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 oakland cranes atat walkers star wars

However George Lucas says he did not get his creative idea from the Oakland Cranes. Is this true? Would he give the Shipping Container Cranes in Oakland the credit for his 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 behemoths 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 from the top of the cranes and the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Each huge structure 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 transporting from China to Oakland 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 ’12 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.
oakland cranes

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 Port of Oakland is the 5th 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 West Oakland in and out. The Port also includes the Oakland International Airport.

Oakland still has to get rid of it’s old low profile smaller 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

Ship crossing the Atlantic. Unfortunately there is no Pacific video out there but it’s still cool.

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


  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 – 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.

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