Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Winds Can Cause Delays For Container Shipping

Cape Town Port Plans to Beat the Elements This Year
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH AFRICA – Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) advise us they have a plan this year to minimise the seasonal disruption caused by the excessively high winds which traditionally are the bane of the stevedore’s life at this time of the year around the country’s Southern tip. The windy season coincides with the fruit harvest meaning the principal cargo is perishable and freighted in reefer containers.

After discussions with interested parties like the Harbour Carriers Association and Port Liaison Forum chaired by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as shippers, TPT have formulated a complex mix of flexible shift patterns and a review of container capacity in the stacking yard. This includes ongoing assessment of available equipment with the emphasis on retaining flexible machinery. Also critical to the success of the plan is engagement with customers to plan vessels better and encourage higher productivity.

In previous years wind delays at Cape Town Terminal have been calculated at between 45 and 145 hours per month, from September to March. Excessive delays of vessels at anchor ultimately lead to congestion in the terminal. Terminal operation becomes limited because of the wind tolerance of the equipment, for example rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes are limited beyond 72km/hour and ship-to-shore (STS) cranes beyond 80km/hour. At excessive wind speeds the equipment cuts off completely.

Now all parties hope that with careful management, including shared resources, berths and stack capacity across the terminals containers can be transferred efficiently between the two terminals to align with the vessel berthing strategy, while using the Agri Ro-Ro terminal (formerly known as the multipurpose terminal or MPT) will assist recovery periods in the case of delays.

Photo: A Force 10 off the Cape of Good Hope