Chinese ship Zhen Hua 10 unloads the new cranes at the Colombo Port yesterday. These three gantry cranes and six transfer cranes are the first to arrive here after a lapse of three decades – Pic by Upul Abayasekara
The Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) received brand new cranes from the Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Company Ltd. (ZPMC) in China, fulfilling the SLPA’s long-awaited requirement of new operating equipment and machinery to boost productivity and efficient handling of containers at the JCT.
Under the new arrivals three gantry cranes and six transfer cranes have arrived at JCT. The machinery has been received as a result of the successful agreements between the SLPA and the ZPMC of China in May last year.
Two out of the three new STS gantry cranes consist of facilities to operate 16 containers across on board the vessel with a maximum lifting capacity of 50 tonnes (Post Panamax STS cranes). The other crane has twin lift capability and is able to operate 18 containers across the ship with a maximum lifting capacity of 65 tonnes, the first of its kind in the history of JCT (Super Post Panamax STS crane).
The new facilities will enable JCT to provide four cranes for Super Post Panamax vessels without any interruption or delay. All six RTGs have a lifting capacity of 41 tonnes and stacking capacity of seven high.
The new cranes arrive at the JCT in place of more than 25 years old machinery implemented at the JCT since its inception in 1985. With the latest installations, SLPA hopes to boost the efficiency and productivity of its container operations at the JCT.
Nearly 100 countries that have first class and pioneering container ports in the world currently use machinery of the ZPMC which is the world’s number one port machinery manufacturing and providing company. The agreement with the ZPMC has further facilitated with updated after sales services that will exclusively contribute towards improving efficiency at the JCT.
As the company that has exported the ongoing machinery at the Colombo Port is not functioning at present, the import of necessary spare parts remains a greater obstacle in the maintenance of such old equipment at SLPA.
Meanwhile, the international mega shipping lines see the new face lift with the latest installment of state-of-the-art machinery at the SLPA, as a much more reliable and friendly service at its terminals that strengthens assistance towards them as well as a representation for the sustainable development of the port sector.
Considering the advantage of the state of the US dollar, circulating in the local finance market, last year the Bank of Ceylon, released a loan of US$ 62.5 million to SLPA, upon the instructions of the Treasury, to purchase necessary machinery. The process was equally facilitated and highly assisted by the Ministry of Port and Aviation.
Accordingly, SLPA reached into agreement worth Rs. 7,200 million with the ZPMC in May last year to import one STS gantry crane of 65 tonnes capacity, two STS gantry cranes of 50 tonnes capacity and 24 RTG cranes of 41 tonnes capacity. Although it takes about 16 months for the new machinery to arrive at the port following the placing of the order, SLPA has been privileged to receive the first batch of the machinery within 11 months.
While the efficient contribution of the SLPA to the national economy of Sri Lanka, which has been well identified by various decisive forces of the on-going socio-economic development process, the SLPA itself has launched a number of important steps to further strengthen the facilities and services rendered to all its customers through a dedicated process of improving and developing the existing infrastructure and related services.
As a result of the effective procedures taken by the SLPA in this regard, it has also been identified as the 28th best container port of the world. Under the theme of the ‘Mahinda Chintahana – Idiri Dekma,’ the SLPA is geared towards developing five ports in Sri Lanka, with a pioneering programme implemented to develop the infrastructure at the Port of Colombo. Upon the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, these projects are aimed at making Sri Lanka a maritime hub as the most efficient and attractive port in the region.
Based upon the current implementations under the supervision of Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways Rohitha Abegunawardhane and the well-planned, flexible process of the SLPA Management led by its Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama, Colombo Port at present has won the reliability of all the leading international shipping lines. The objective of the SLPA is to develop all its infrastructure, aiming at better revenues through the highest efficiency.