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Express hub taking shape fast

Express hub taking shape fast

Video: A container ship docking at the quay of the new Container Terminal in Walvis Bay and a demonstration of container handling capabilities by Namport staff. – Footage: Niël Terblanché

Niël Terblanché
INNOVATIVE new technology will be combined with new and existing machinery to make the new Container Terminal in the Port of Walvis Bay one of the most efficient cargo transhipment harbours on the west coast of the African continent.
The inauguration of the new Container Terminal have put Namibia one step closer to become the logistics hub of choice for countries in the Southern African hinterland locked in by land. Although the logistics hub principle will form a large part of the port’s container business, the largest part of the business but by far, would be transhipment of containers.
The new terminal will give the harbour the capacity to handle 750 000 Twenty-foot Equivalent container Units (TEUs) per year, but only 30 percent of that volume will be imported and exported through the harbour. The remaining 70 percent of that volume will represent the transhipment of containers.
This means that ships with different destinations and types of cargo will offload containers in the new terminal where it would be stowed until a second ship arrives to load and take these containers to their next destination. Revenue would be derived from the handling and storing of containers as well as mooring fees which mean that the quicker ships can be turned around in the port, the more ships can be accommodated and processed.
According to Victor Ashikoto, Information and Communication Technology Executive of the Namibian Ports Authority, the brand new ship to shore cranes will play a major role in the fast loading and offloading of containers. Older rubber wheeled gantries will do the stacking of containers and an aging fleet of container transport trucks will move containers between the cranes and the gantries.
He said that a state of the art computer driven container management system will be installed and operations managed from a central command centre in a new building situated in the terminal.
He said the secret of the transformation of the port into an express hub lie in the automation of the port operations as far as possible. The new port automation system will also entail yard automation and advanced berth planning.
“The port automation systems will be enhanced by integrated smart technologies and will enable us to manage port from real time environment. These will include smart maps, smart stacking solutions, a container position recording system, real time inventory and a smart rail management system and will definitely improve operation performance.”
“Shipping lines want predictable consistent service which means that we need to deliver and guarantee quick, safe and cost effective vessel turn-around times.”
Ashikoto said the new command centre will allow for information from a variety of sources to be presented and processed centrally for operations planning and execution purposes and will allows for optimum allocation of resources to where it is required. He said a customer self service element will be built into the system which would help to speed operations up.
He said that once the new systems are installed and the new Container Terminal is commissioned and operating that it will free up space in the old part of the port that would increase Namport’s ability to handle increased volumes of bulk and break-bulk cargo and will enhance the multi-purpose capacity and profile of the port.

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