South African port operator Transnet Port Terminals set a precedent in Africa when it took possession of three new tandem lift ship-to-shore cranes for the Durban Container Terminal that are the first of their kind on the continent.
The equipment - purchased from Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co (ZPMC) in Shanghai, China - will revive the Durban terminal and result in improved efficiencies and reduced service times, the organisation said in a statement when the cranes arrived on 20 November.
"We celebrate a milestone with the delivery of three mega cranes, the largest of their kind deployed at any container terminal in the southern hemisphere," said Transnet Port Terminal's acting schief executive, Pru Archary.
"This acquisition will make Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 the first terminal in Africa to operate tandem lift ship-to-shore cranes, which reaffirms our commitment to delivering world-class port services in Africa."
The cranes form part of a fleet of seven meant to boost equipment at the country's flagship terminal; the remaining four will arrive early in 2013.
A Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) team headed by general manager for capital projects, Logan Naidoo, has been working on the design standards of the cranes for the past 15 months.
'Designed to improve port's longevity'
"These cranes have been designed to take us into the next 20 years of the port's longevity and are capable of servicing the latest-generation container vessels with with a span of 24 containers across the deck," Naidoo said.
They will also be able to service the next generation of megamax vessels that will dock at the terminal's North Quay once it is deepened, which is scheduled for the near future.
"These cranes will ensure that the Durban Container Terminal is taken as a serious player in the global shipping fraternity and its arrival is a milestone in the delivery of Transnet's market demand strategy," TPT said.
"TPT has R33-billion worth of capital projects planned over the next seven years, with a key focus on upgrading infrastructure at various terminals and replacing aged equipment," Naidoo said.
"The investment in the tandem lift ship-to-shore cranes, valued at R700-million, was prioritised as one of TPT's top ten capital projects under the market demand strategy."
In addition to improving efficiency and productivity at the terminal, the acquisition will allow for job creation and opportunities for local engineering companies and graduates.
"In line with Transnet's tender policy, the recipient of every tender is required to produce a competitive supplier development plan (CSDP)," the company said.
As such, ZPMC has selected local port equipment spares and maintenance company, Elgin Marine Services, as its CSDP partner.
"Elgin Marine Services has employed and will mentor and develop 11 young newly graduated engineers from previously disadvantaged communities to whom skills will be transferred," Transnet Port Terminals said.