The cranes are used for loading, discharging, transshipment and lightening for ports with insufficient depth. Often multiple floating cranes operate simultaneously on one vessel so very high unloading rates can be achieved. Manufacturers of mobile harbour cranes also offer floating cranes. These cranes use the same standardised concept as the standard rail or rubber tire-mounted mobile harbour cranes. The cranes have higher capacities up to 63 ton. Large stevedoring companies on the Mississippi river use these cranes for their operation.
Crane barges are mainly used for offshore transshipment operations. Most crane barges work with one or two 30-35 ton deck cranes on an outreach of 32 to 36 meters. These floating transfer stations (FTS) are especially popular for unloading barges in larger vessels like Panamax or Capesize.