Durban gets new container cranes

Aug 10, 2004
Author: P&S

They’re here!

Durban harbour was abuzz with excitement yesterday morning (Monday 9 August 2004) pending the arrival of the heavylift Dockwise ship Tern, carrying three super post-panamax container cranes for the Durban Container Terminal (DCT).


The cranes, which were purchased from the port of La Spezia in Italy, can handle the biggest container ships already in service. They cost SA Port Operations (SAPO) a reported R180 million and took almost a year to source and have delivered.

Almost new, they became available because of a decision by Italian authorities not to allow dredging at the port of La Spezia. SAPO stepped with the assistance of Mediterranean Shipping Company and was able to make a successful offer for the three cranes, which have seen very little service. The sale agreement included a full extension of the manufacturer’s warranty.

After discharging at the container terminal the cranes will undergo further modification before entering service at the end of September.


“This deal has given us more than we need,” said a pleased Hamilton Nxumalo, general manager for SAPO Engineering. He was referring to the cranes being the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and capable of handling the biggest container ships afloat – more than anything able to enter the port of Durban at present.

However cranes have a life of 20 – 30 years or more and with the planned widening of the port entrance starting in 2005 the time may soon come when they are put to use loading containers on some of the world’s larger ships.

SAPO has also placed an order with the Argentine company IMPSA Port Systems for a further three cranes, which are being manufactured locally for delivery early in 2005.

And with proposals of turning Pier 1 into a second container terminal, an additional six cranes may soon be necessary.



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