The World’s Largest Ship Elevator Is An Impressive Feat of Engineering

The Goupitan ship-lift in China’s Guizhou Province is the largest ship-lift in the world, able to lift ships weighing up to 500 tons to a height of 653 feet. Dams are characterized by a drastic change in water levels, and that makes navigating large waterways a daunting task. Fortunately, advanced technology makes things a lot easier. The Goupitan Hydropower Station, completed in 2021, consists of 3 different hydraulic lifts connected by navigable water channels with a total distance of 1.42 miles. The system is split into three different stages in order to maximize boat transportation efficiency by reducing the risk of congestion. As soon as a ship gets past the first lift, another can be lifted, while the first ship continues its journey through the second and third elevators. Each elevator consists of two rows of hoist cable drums, and the gearboxes are positioned over both sides of the boat-lifting reservoir. This design provides a hoisting speed of approximately 26 feet per minute, enabling it to lift a 500-ton vessel in 10 minutes.