New cranes arrive in Durban on Monday

Aug 7, 2004
Author: P&S

Three Super post-panamax Liebherr container gantry cranes, acquired ‘secondhand’ from the port of La Spezia, are scheduled for arrival at the Durban Container Terminal on Monday, 9 August.

The cranes, acquired at a cost of R180 million are being carried on board the Dockwise heavylift vessel Tern, which passed Cape Agulhas yesterday (Friday) and is expected off Durban at 10.00 on Monday.

The twin-lift cranes will bring the total available at the Durban Container Terminal to 16. A further three post-panamax cranes are currently under construction in South Africa by IMPSA Port Systems and are scheduled for commissioning early in 2005.

The Liebherr cranes will be positioned on the South Quay opposite berth 109, enabling the port to handle any size container ships capable of entering the port of Durban. They become the largest container cranes n the Southern Hemisphere.

“We pulled out all stops to ensure that our investment provided the highest possible returns and I can say that this deal gives us more than what we required,” said Hamilton Nxumalo, SA Port Operations Engineering General Manager, who has responsibility for initiating and implementing the accelerated equipment replacement and acquisition programme at the container terminal. This programme included the acquiring of 60 new Kalmar straddle carriers which have already entered service.

Nxumalo said the arrival of the cranes will ease the sweating of SAPO assets at the terminal and will impact tremendously on ship turnaround times. The necessary modifications to the quayside to accommodate the new cranes has cost R13.2 million, which is considerably under budget, said Nxumalo.

Although the three Liebherr cranes are ‘secondhand’ each has hardly seen service owing to the decision taken by the Italian authorities not to allow further dredging of the port at La Spezia. This decision was taken after delivery of the cranes. Nevertheless SAPO has acquired a full warranty extension from the manufacturers for the three.

Handover of the three Liebherr cranes is scheduled for 30 September 2004.

Second Container Terminal

Durban’s container terminal currently handles about 65% of South Africa’s seaborne container traffic and SAPO anticipates having handled 1.5 million TEUs by the end of 2004, including a small number of boxes processed at other terminals elsewhere in the port.

Plans were recently submitted to parent body Transnet to have Pier 1 converted as a second container terminal. Pier 1 is currently in use as a multi purpose terminal, an operation that will move across to a new deepwater facility at the Point in the new year.

Provided SAPO’s plan is approved a further six gantry cranes are expected to be ordered.

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