The final four of Transnet’s seven new ship-to-shore cranes, costing about R70 million in total, were unveiled at the Durban Container Terminal on Monday.
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba told a media briefing that the tandem-lift cranes would improve productivity. Their purchase is part of a R300-billion, seven-year investment programme that will see Transnet acquiring a further 39 ship-to-shore cranes for use at its seven ports. It now has 45 cranes.
The Durban Container Terminal handles almost 63 percent of the container trade in the country.
Gigaba said that the cranes could handle two 40-foot (12m) containers, or four 20-foot containers, weighing up to 80 tons.
The older cranes could manage only one or two containers at a time.
Gross crane moves an hour were expected to jump from 22 to 33 in the next three years.
Durban handles about 2.5 million teus (20-foot equivalent unit) of containers and, with the introduction of the new tandem-lifts, was expected to handle 12 million over the next 20 years.
Gigaba said this was essential to attract business.
“Ship working hours, the rate at which a terminal loads and offloads container ships, will improve from 68 to 85 containers once operators are fully conversant with the equipment and newer vessels with larger parcel sizes call at our ports,” said Gigaba.
The cranes were manufactured by Chinese corporation ZPMC, after the job went to tender in 2011.
Brian Molefe, chief executive of Transnet, said it had been a transparent tender process and ZPMC had 70 percent of the market share in crane manufacture.
“The process was finalised in June 2011 and we received the first three cranes in November 2012,” he said.
Operators were trained through the manufacturer. Training included technology transfer for making spares and key components.
“We’ve had to make a trade-off between using old infrastructure and reducing costs, and buying better technology that operates more effectively. I think we made the right decision,” said Molefe. - Daily News Reporter