Then came the 24-hour endurance tests, in which each crane was required to perform flawlessly through a series of commands.

"It's a little short-term pain for long-term gain," Schmidt said. "We wanted to make sure we got the product we paid for in the condition we expected."

Wednesday, it took the cranes 767 moves to unload and load the Miramarin before it headed out to southern U.S. ports.

Mauro Dalbo, Baltimore manager for Mediterranean Shipping Co., operator of the Miramarin, said the new berth and cranes were an opportunity for the port to expand its productivity and profile.

"It's a great day for the port and a great day for the people of Baltimore and Maryland," he said.

Seagirt cranes

Location: Seagirt Marine Terminal

Height: 40 stories from ground to boom tip

Weight: 1,500 tons

Lift capacity: 187,000 pounds

Cost: $40 million for four

Manufacturer: ZPMC, Shanghai, China

Arrived: June 2012

Operational: February 2013