SHIPPING: Container Terminal Geared Up
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE Cape Town Container Terminal has kicked off its operations this financial year with improved productivity in the first two months, exceeding performance targets.
The terminal which is operated by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) performed well in ship working hours (SWH) and gross crane moves per hour (GCH), two of the main criteria by which container handling productivity is measured.
SWH is the number of containers that have been moved by the number of cranes working on the vessel in one hour. It is a key performance indicator for customers. GCH is a common measure of productivity in the container handling business and is a crucial factor in container shipping, which requires fast and efficient movement of containers by crane operators to reduce the overall cost of doing business.
In April and May 2011, the Cape Town Terminal achieved an SWH of 52 and 55 respectively against a target of 46 SWH.
During the same period, the terminal reached a GCH of 28 and 29 respectively against a revised target of 26 GCH.
The truck turnaround time (TTT) of 28 minutes in April and 33 in May against a new target of 35 minutes again pointed to improved efficiencies at the Cape Town container terminal.
Velile Dube, who performs a dual role of terminal executive for the Western Cape terminals and acting chief operations officer for all container terminals, says construction work at the Cape Town Container Terminal necessitated certain targets such as TTT being revised to make allowance for disruption in normal activities.
“Our operational flow has been smooth and has exceeded all expectations despite the fact that we are operating in what could be considered a construction site.”
The R5.6 billion expansion project scheduled for completion in 2012, will double the terminal’s current handling capacity to over 1.4 million TEUs.
Western Cape Harbour Carriers Association chairman John Berry says better communication between the association and the terminal operator is yielding dividends.
“We have monthly meetings to discuss challenges. However, we will also address problems on a daily basis if necessary.”
“Continuous communication between TPT and the HCA to iron out problems confronting our members has helped much. This is the best thing that has happened,” says Berry.
He adds while strong winds and thick fog sometimes caused unavoidable delays, an added challenge is that the rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTG’s) that replaced the old stacking cranes and straddle carriers to transport containers inside the terminal are unable to operate in wind speeds exceeding 72 km/h.
One of the objectives of the expansion project is to convert the terminal into an RTG operation.
This has seen the replacement of straddle carriers with 28 Kalmar manufactured RTG’s which stack containers wider, deeper and higher.
Dube however says that by implementing internationally recognised best practices the terminal managed to sustain operation beyond wind speeds of 72km/h.
“These measures include Back Loading Operation, Dual Cycle Loading and Global Pooling, which entails the optimal utilisation of resources across the terminal to reduce unproductive driving, idling, crane delays and traffic congestion,” says Dube.
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