The two new ship to shore cranes that have successfully undergone testing and are due to be launched into operations at the Ngqura Container Terminal in July, promise improved efficiencies and increased job opportunities for the region.
Representing an investment of R150 million by port operator Transnet Port Terminals, the two Liebherr Super Post Panamax cranes were delivered in January and bring the terminal’s fleet of ship to shore cranes to eight.
Terminal Executive for the Eastern Cape Terminals, Siya Mhlaluka, said the cranes were procured to cater for the projected growth in the market's volume demand. They would also improve productivity by increasing Ship Working Hour (SWH), or the number of containers moved by the number of cranes working a vessel in one hour.
A total of 78 additional operators had been trained and were ready to operate the equipment, pointing to increased job creation for the region.
Mhlaluka said the port operator had carried out cold commissioning during June. This involved a dry run to test the integrity of the equipment including electrical, instrumentation and control systems.
Hot commissioning was also completed in June and this final stage - prior to start-up and first operation – involved testing the cranes under partial or full load.
Serving more than 30 container vessels each month, Ngqura Container Terminal has set container handling records since it commenced operations in 2009. It moves in excess of 500 000 TEUs per annum.
It offers berthing within two hours of vessel arrival and boasts an average quayside handling rate of 55 container moves per ship per hour (SWH) on mainline cellular vessels and a crane productivity rate of 30 gross crane moves per hour (GCH).
Transnet’s newly formulated Market Demand Strategy will see Transnet SOC Limited invest R300 billion on freight infrastructure over the next seven years. Of this TPT will invest R33 billion to boost port operations.
The portion allocated for the 600 000 m2 Ngqura Container Terminal includes just under R1.1 billion for Phase 2 A expansion to increase container handling capacity from the current 800 000 TEUs to 1.5 million TEU capacity by 2013/14.
A further R 808 million would be spent between 2015 and 2019 on Phase 2 B expansion that would increase the terminal’s capacity to two million TEUs.
One of two berths has already been extended by 100 metres and two additional berths are to be completed by August 2012.
NCT is well poised to serve as a global transhipment hub for new trade linkages between East and West, with figures showing that approximately 65% of the TEU’s handled in 2011 comprised transshipment cargo.
The container terminal is one of the deepest in Africa with a draft alongside berth of 16.5m. This means it can cater for the largest container and bulk vessels that the shipping lines are now deploying as part of their new fleet.
The two new cranes will work alongside some of the best port infrastructure and equipment in the Southern Hemisphere, comprising 22 rubber tyred gantry cranes, 50 hauler/trailer combinations, two rail mounted gantry cranes and the Navis SPARCS N4 terminal operating system.