Infrastructure

New cranes a boost for local port productivity

New cranes a boost for local port productivity
container ship.jpg

Transnet has unveiled seven new ship-to-shore cranes at the Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 as part of its accelerated crane fleet acquisition programme to drive productivity and boost efficiency.

The cranes were supplied by Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co (ZPMC) from Shanghai, China and were unveiled by Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba on Monday as part of Transnet's seven-year, R300-billion market demand strategy.

As part of the strategy, Transnet Port Terminals will buy 39 new ship-to-shore cranes over the next 20 years.

The Durban port is the southern hemisphere's biggest and busiest, but has suffered productivity challenges in the past due to outdated equipment.

The new cranes have the ability to simultaneously handle two 12-metre containers or four six-metre containers and lift up to 80 tonnes. "They are the biggest in Africa and can handle new-generation vessels with 24 containers stowed across the deck," Transnet said in a statement.

"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," Gigaba said.

Transnet operators are also receiving intensive training on the cranes to improve productivity.

"Ship working hour, 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," he said.

Transnet is also currently expanding the capacity of its Cape Town terminal and establishing its Eastern Cape Ngqura terminal as a transshipment hub.

"The company has also acquired the old Durban International Airport site for the construction of a dig-out port to cater for projected rise in demand," Transnet said. It will be built in phases between 2016 and 2039.

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