Cape Town Container Terminal Upgrade on Schedule

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Cape Town container terminal’s R4.2 billion expansion project has seen several milestones for the port in recent months, and the upward trajectory is set to continue as the country’s second largest container terminal ramps up its capacity over the next five years.

Oscar Borchards, Transnet Port Terminals’ Business Unit Executive, said ongoing expansion works and procurement of state-of-the-art equipment would ensure the facility is better prepared when the global market picks up again in the near future.

“In May we took delivery of four rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs) manufactured by Kalmar Industries. By the end of the expansion programme, 32 RTGs will be operational within the terminal, together with eight Liebherr ship-to-shore cranes, four of which have been delivered and assembled to date,” he said.

The RTG crane is the preferred container handling system at world class, high-tech terminals and will replace the terminal’s current straddle carrier operations. It lifts to 18,2 metres high and 26,5 metres wide, and is used to transfer containers from road vehicles into the stacking yard. The RTG can stack five containers high and spans a roadway of five rows of containers. It optimises terminal space by enabling denser stacking of containers in the stacking yard.

Borchards said the equipment required skilled operators and an aggressive training programme had been put in place for this.

“The terminal has to date trained 40 Operators of Lifting Equipment (OLE’s), with 24 employees having completed theory, simulation and practical training on the ship-to-shore (STS) Liebherr cranes.  This will ensure adequate operator resources to man the new cranes,” he said.

To assist further with training, the terminal will take delivery of a R6.7 million MasterLift™ 4000 advanced training simulator in July 2009. The technologically advanced software and hardware system, housed within a standard shipping container, is able to simulate weather conditions, environment and situations that cannot be safely replicated using traditional training methods. It offers identical controls to that of the RTG and ship-to-shore cranes used in the terminal, so that operators are able to hone their skills to achieve set productivity targets without interrupting normal operations or causing damage to equipment.

In September 2009 the terminal will cross over from the COSMOS terminal operating system to the web-based SPARCS N4 operating system, which governs the movement of all container logistics and operations from gate to yard to vessel. It offers users improved customer support, lower operating costs and increased stacking yard capacity.  All four berths together with the Ben Schoeman Basin are being deepened to 15.5m to accommodate larger new-generation vessels, which require deeper water and upgraded quay facilities. Work on the four berths is being staggered over the five-year programme to minimise disruption.

Berth 601 will be the first of four to come on-stream and will be handed over in July 2009 once dredging, deepening and quay wall refurbishment are completed. It will serve its first vessels in July 2009 with four Liebherr cranes due to be commissioned during July and August. Berth 602 would be the next to be taken out of service for deepening and quay refurbishment.

In its entirety the expansion programme will increase capacity from 740,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 1,4 million TEUs by the end of 2012. The key aspects of the project are:

·             Construction of a deeper terminal with new quay wall suitable for Super Post Panamax cranes

·             Replacement of the old ship to shore cranes with Super Post Panamax cranes with twin lift capability

·             Increasing stack capacity by moving from straddle carriers to a Rubber Tyred Gantry crane (RTG) operation

The five-year construction programme is an element of parent company Transnet Ltd’s R28 billion investment into port-related projects, from an overall R78 billion planned for investment over the next five years.


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