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Major boost for Durban Port efficiency

by Bhekisisa Mncube
on 13 May 2013
South African Government News Agency
South African Government News Agency

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba has unveiled Transnet’s seven new state-of-the-art ship-to-shore cranes at the Durban Container Terminal – Pier 2, as the company surges ahead in its drive to boost productivity and efficiency in arguably the biggest and busiest port in the southern hemisphere.

Speaking at a media briefing in Durban today, Gigaba said the state-of-the-art ship-to-shore cranes will improve efficiency, result in employee up-skilling and add 400 new jobs in the short term.

The cranes are part of Transnet's rolling R300 billion seven-year investment programme – the Market Demand Strategy. Over the next 20 years, Transnet Port Terminals, which currently operates 45 cranes in seven ports across the country, will buy 39 new ship-to-shore cranes.

The minister told SAnews that the new cranes will position the Durban Container Terminal as the most efficient in South Africa and will move the country to the new developmental trajectory. These new cranes are the first to be put in operation in the southern hemisphere.

The cranes, which were supplied by China-based original equipment manufacturer, ZPMC, following a competitive tender process in 2011, are part of Transnet Port Terminals’ accelerated crane fleet acquisition programme targeted at replacing its ageing fleet. Transnet Port Terminals is Transnet’s port operations unit.

Six of the seven cranes have been handed over to operations, while the remaining one was handed over today after undergoing Transnet’s rigorous operational readiness and endurance tests. The readiness tests are conducted by the company’s engineering teams in partnership with the manufacturer. Transnet operators are also undergoing intensive training on the cranes to ensure maximum benefit.

While taking members of the media through a tour and an exhibition of the capabilities of the tandem-lift cranes, Gigaba said the Durban Container Terminal – Pier 2 had in the past experienced significant productivity challenges, which affected the overall performance of the port. This, he said, was mainly due to old and outdated equipment used.

He said the new equipment could simultaneously handle two 12-meter containers or four 6-meter containers, and lift up to a maximum of 80 tons. They are the biggest in Africa and can handle new generation vessels with 24 containers stowed across the deck.

“These capabilities will see a massive jump in productivity with gross crane moves per hour (GCH) - a key measure of terminal efficiency and how well equipment is used - jumping from the current 26 to 33 GCH over the next three years. This is a 27 percent improvement.

“Ship working hour (SWH), the rate at which a terminal is able to load and offload container ships in an hour and a key consideration for our customers, will improve from the current 68 containers to 85 once our operators are fully conversant with operating the equipment and newer generation vessels with larger parcel sizes call to our ports – that will be a 25 percent increase,” he said.

Through further innovation and optimum planning, the terminal is able to stretch the cranes’ capability to carry four 12-meter empty containers simultaneously through vertical twin lift. – SAnews.gov.za

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