By Agnes Ansah .
Following the ongoing expansion project at the Tema Port, Meridian Port Services (MPS) has received another batch of gantry cranes to aid the project.
The group, on February 1 received seven Ship-To-Shore gantry cranes (STS) on the water front and 20 electric Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes (eRTG) in the yard, totalling 27.
This follows a purchase agreement signed in August 2017, between Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Company (ZPMC) and MPS, led by Minister of Transport, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah.
Mr Mohamed Samara, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MPS indicated that “This is the largest fleet of gantry cranes ever acquired in West Africa.”
He said that the global maritime industry is closely following this massive port expansion project at Tema and specifically drawing the attention of the major shipping lines that operate several services within West Africa to have another look at optimising the number of services and long-haul sailings into the region. This may become a “game changer” to the Liner Services in the region.
He stated that the unit testing and commissioning has started already, and by the end of February the commissioned cranes would be handed over to the Business Transition Team in batches over the coming months.
Describing the quality of the cranes, Mr Samara said: “The cranes are of superior quality and specifications, and come packed with the highest technology.”
“The STS cranes are Super Post Panamax with 65 metres outreach, capable of handling containers on board vessels up to 23 rows and 10 on deck, while the eRTGs are capable of stacking containers seven wide and one over five high in the container yards. The cranes are also designed in an ergonomically friendly manner to make work comfortable for operators,” he said.
The Head of Transition at MPS, Mr Cyrille Lemee, stated that the operators’ training would commence in February immediately after the commissioning of the cranes.
He said the integrated testing would roll for six weeks, followed by four weeks of intensified simulation and training, whereby a test vessel will be operational by the beginning of June.
This would subsequently be followed by three weeks of Full Terminal Testing (including Gate in and Out), in which Go/No-Go tests will be conducted prior to the Go-Live date of the 28th June this year, he indicated.
Tema Port was listed as one of the six busiest ports in Africa, and with the on-going investment in infrastructure and superstructure, it will certainly result in a remarkable increase in cargo volumes. By investing in the state-of-the-art machinery on a terminal with a 16-metre deep harbour basin, MPS is further establishing Tema Port as one of the best in the Africa.
The Tema Port Expansion Project makes a claim for a chain of value creation for all spheres of the economy. It is expected that there would be increased productivity and capacity, resulting in the reduction of freight costs, as well as providing additional employment and skills in addition to the Ghanaian workforce.