Wednesday, November 21, 2012

First Chinese Cranes to Speed up Container Shipping

Shipping News Feature

SOUTH AFRICA – Port operators Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), a division of state-owned freight transport and handling company Transnet SOC Limited, made history this week when it took delivery of three new ZPMC tandem lift ship-to-shore (STS) cranes from the Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company, the first of their kind at any shipping facility in Africa. The new equipment is intended to revitalise the Durban Container Terminal (DCT) which the company hopes will result in improved efficiencies and reduced service times for vessels calling at the terminal. TPT’s Acting Chief Executive, Pru Archary said:

“We are celebrating a milestone with the delivery of three mega cranes, the largest of their kind deployed at any container terminal in the Southern Hemisphere. This acquisition will make DCT Pier 2 the first terminal in Africa to operate tandem lift STS cranes which reaffirms our commitment to delivering world class port services in Africa.”

The three cranes were procured from the Chinese-based company ZPMC, which was previously named Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Company before rebranding itself in 2009, and arrived on board the Zhenhua 27 vessel on the 20th November. The equipment is part of a fleet of seven tandem lift STS cranes procured to renew port terminal handling equipment in an effort to boost South Africa’s flagship terminal, DCT. The remaining four cranes will arrive early in 2013.

The cranes are fully compatible to service the next generation Megamax vessels that will be able to dock at DCT’s North Quay once deepening is completed hopefully in the near future. In addition to the standard twin-lift 20 foot container crane handling operation, DCT’s new STS cranes are able to lift two full 40 foot containers or four 20 foot empty containers in tandem during vessel operations across the quay. With its 80 tonnes safe working load, this new dual-hoisting, tandem-lift technology is expected to boost port productivity. Logan Naidoo, TPT’s General Manager of Capital Projects, commented:

“These cranes have been designed to take us into the next 20 years of the port’s longevity and are capable of servicing the latest generation container vessels with a span of 24 containers across the deck. TPT has R33 billion worth of capital projects planned over the next seven years, with a key focus on upgrading infrastructure at various terminals and replacing aged equipment. The investment in the tandem lift STS cranes, valued at R700 million was prioritised as one of TPT’s top ten capital investment projects under the Transnet’s Market Demand Strategy.”

Hector Danisa, DCT Terminal Manager, said:

“The terminal has eagerly awaited the arrival of the cranes and the terminal has formulated an operational plan to put them to good use as soon as they are fully commissioned by the capital projects team. As part of the readiness preparations, a group of terminal operations and technical staff have travelled to Shanghai, China, for orientation training. As with all new technology, there will be an initial learning curve before the cranes are operated at 'full speed' and we are confident that our crane operators will put these cranes into good use.”

Danisa also highlighted that apart from the benefits the equipment will have for the terminal the new acquisition has also created an opportunity for a local engineering company as well as young engineering graduates. In line with Transnet’s tender policy, the recipient of every tender is required to produce a Competitive Supplier Development Plan (CSDP).

The awarding supplier, ZPMC, has selected emerging port equipment spares and maintenance company, Elgin Marine Services (EMS) as their CSDP partner. In turn, EMS has employed and will mentor and develop 11 young newly graduated engineers from previously disadvantaged communities to whom skills will be transferred.

Photo: The new cranes sail into Durban to await unloading quayside. Courtesy Roy Reed.