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 A welcome fillip for container handling equipment at SLPA
 

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has completed its Container Handling Equipment (CHE) Upgrade Project worth over $ 100 million by receiving the final consignment of 50 yard tractors yesterday.

The previous consignments consisted of ship-to-shore cranes and Rubber-Tyred-Gantry (RTG) cranes used for transferring containers between stacks in the yard.

The CHE upgrade project which kicked off in mid 2009 consisted of three phases. Under Phase I, the SLPA received three ship-to-shore cranes and six RTG cranes from Zhenhua Port Machinery Co., Ltd. (ZPMC) in China in April 2011.

Under phase II, in November 2011, it received another three ship-to-shore cranes and 24 RTG cranes from the same company in China and under phase III SLPA received 50 yard tractors from Terberg Tractors in Malaysia in December 2011. Almost all the ship-to-shore cranes and RTGs have now been deployed for operation in SLPA-controlled Jaye Container Terminal (JCT).

The crane supplier, Zhenhua Port Machinery Co. Ltd. (ZPMC) in Shanghai, China, is the world’s top manufacturer of port machinery, which includes a wide range of equipment from container cranes and RTGs to floating cranes, engineering vessels and large steel bridge structures.
According to a survey conducted by ‘World Cargo News’ in England, ZPMC has had the largest order book for large container cranes throughout the last seven years.

ZPMC is the world first designer and fabricator of dual-hoist quayside container cranes which can handle 40 ft. containers. The double trolley quayside container cranes fabricated by ZPMC are also becoming popular in most of the busiest ports in the world.

The yard tractor supplier, Terberg Tractors, Malaysia, builds terminal tractors and RoRo tractors tailored for the transport of trailers in ports, industry, logistics and distribution centres and tipper trucks tailored for ground and construction transport.
Terberg vehicles are operative in more than 80 countries in the world covering Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia, China and Australia. Being active and innovative within this niche market, the company provides a very broad range of vehicles of superior quality and best value.

The CHE Upgrade Project of SLPA culminated with the arrival of the consignment of yard tractors and in a special key handing over ceremony held at JCT. The milestone event was marked with the handing over of a ceremonial key to Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways Rohitha Abeygunawardana in the presence of SLPA Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama and SLPA Managing Director Capt. Nihal Keppetipola and other SLPA officials. Prasantha Kularatna, MD/CEO of Premium International Pvt. Ltd., the exclusive local agent in Sri Lanka for Terberg Tractors, Malaysia, also participated.

Addressing the gathering, SLPA Chief Dr. Wickrama said: “The SLPA evolved its operational systems from time to time to suit handling requirements. Now our state-of-the-art computer system with DGPS and RFID usage is fully functional and operational. With this CHE upgrade, I am fully confident that the SLPA continues to be the benchmark for many container terminals in the world.”

“Today, it is one of the most modern and organised ports in South Asia, with the latest equipment and a user-friendly state-of-the-art infrastructure for delivering fast, reliable and efficient world-class service,” he added.

Commenting at the key handing over ceremony, Keppetipola said: “The overall task of a container terminal is to manage vessel berthing, inbound container unloading, outbound container loading and storage yards as efficiently as possible. Such a goal can be achieved by coordinating the berthing time of vessels, the resources needed to handle the work load, the waiting time of trucks and at the same time by reducing congestion on the roads as well as at the storage yards. Each of these activities significantly influences port efficiency with consequences on the local and global economy of the freight transport system.”

“In any business there is no time for complacency for process improvement. New technologies continue to emerge. New pieces of equipment are manufactured.  If we look at the global scenario, we find that many a terminal in the world has embarked on using Automated Guided vehicles (AGVs) for automated, high-speed container transport between quay and stack yard. And the ‘collapsible’ container, the latest addition, may help make dramatic changes in port operations in the years to come. With these few thoughts to mull over, I firmly believe that this CHE upgrade will boost the productivity through enhanced efficiency of operations at the JCT,” he added.

The Chairman also stated that it was appreciated that the discussions made at these junctures assisted the reaching of agreements with the management and the trade unions to work for a better salary hike with no interruption to the future developmental procedures of SLPA.
(FT-05012012)

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