On the 1st of February 2019 Meridian Port Services Limited (MPS) received the 2nd batch of gantry cranes ordered for the Tema Port Expansion Project. This follows the purchase agreement signed in August 2017 between Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co. (ZPMC) and MPS led by Minister of Transport, Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah for the total of 27 Gantry Cranes; 7 Ship-To-Shore gantry cranes (STS) on the water front and 20 electric Rubber Tyre Gantry cranes (eRTG) in the yard.
The STS cranes are Super Post Panamax with 65 meter outreach capable of handling containers on board vessels up to 23 rows and 10 on deck while the eRTGs are capable of stacking containers 7 wide and 1 over 5 high in the container yards. The cranes are also designed in an ergonomically friendly manner to make work comfortable for operators.
Mohamed Samara, CEO of MPS said the Unit Testing and commissioning has started already and by the end of February the commissioned cranes will be handed over to the Business Transition Team in batches over the coming months.
The Head of Transition, Cyrille Lemee, elaborated that the Operators’ Training will commence in February immediately after the commissioning of cranes and by 31st March the Integrated Testing will roll for 6 weeks followed by 4 weeks of intensified Simulation and Training whereby a test vessel will be operated by the beginning of June which will subsequently be followed by 3 weeks of Full Terminal Testing (including Gate in & out) in which Go/No-Go tests will be conducted prior to the Go-Live date of the 28th June 2019.
“This is recorded as the largest fleet of gantry cranes ever acquired in West Africa. The cranes are of superior quality & specifications and come packed with the highest technology”, the CEO of MPS said. He further indicated 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 optimizing the number of services and long-haul sailings into the region. This may become a “game changer” to the Liner Services in the region, said Mr. Samara.
Tema Port was listed as one of the six busiest ports in Africa, with the on-going investment in infrastructure and superstructure it will certainly result in remarkable increase in cargo volumes. By investing in the state-of-the-art machinery on a terminal with a 16m 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 will be increased productivity and capacity resulting in reduction of freight costs as well as providing additional employment and skills addition to the Ghanaian workforce.