Belfast Harbour has invested £3m in the world's largest hydraulic crane.
The 40-metre high Finnish machine weighs 370 tonnes and can manage individual loads of up to 50 tonnes.
The harbour said 'Mantsinen 300M' will be the largest of its kind operating in any British or Irish port, enabling greater flexibility at the site, which handles 23 million tonnes of cargo annually.
The new crane will be capable of discharging up to 1,000 tonnes of bulk cargo such as grain or animal feed per hour.
Trevor Anderson, Belfast Harbour operations director, said: "In the past 10 years Belfast Harbour has invested £30m in new cranes to enhance the efficiency and productivity of our quayside operations.
"The harbour is the first business in the UK and Ireland to invest in what is the largest crane of its kind in the world. The extra capacity, longer reach and overall versatility will significantly enhance our cargo-handling portfolio."
The order for the new crane, due to be delivered in spring, is being managed by Cooper Specialised Handling.
Director David Cooper added: "In the past, rope-styled cranes were the only option for handling bulk cargoes and larger vessels, but that has changed thanks to the new generation of hydraulic cranes now available.
"The faster productivity, precise control plus the ability to handle cargo directly without the need for stevedores to operate in ships' holds brings huge operational advantages."