Hutchison Ports Thailand (HPT) hit another milestone at Terminal C1-C2 in Laem Chabang Port with the delivery of a super-post-Panamax crane and four hybrid rubber tyred gantry (RTG) cranes from manufacturer ZPMC in Shanghai. This brings the total number of quay cranes on Terminal C1-C2 to twelve.
Speaking with Mr. Stephen Ashworth, HPH Managing Director for Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, he said, “What this equipment does for us, in particular over the weekends when we are incredibly busy, is it gives us more flexibility, capacity, and helps immensely with our productivity. Our annual throughput capacity at Terminal C is now at about 2.2 million TEUs, so the extra crane is definitely going to be an added benefit going forward.”
“The new equipment allows us the ability to shuffle our assets around to better manage and optimize our operation.”
“We’ve brought in the new equipment a year earlier than planned to help accommodate our operation. This decision has already been vindicated as we are already talking to customers about possible vessel upsizing opportunities and possibly freeing up the berth enough to bring in a few extra services.”
HPT was able to expedite the ordering of these cranes from ZPMC from the normal lead time of eighteen months to just twelve months by maintaining the design and specification of the cranes previously ordered from ZPMC. Because the cranes are similar, crane operators should be able to run the equipment to its fullest capacity right away on the first day of its operation, as they do not have to relearn how to operate the equipment.
With 1,200 meters of berth space at HPT’s Terminal C1-C2 location, the cranes ordered need to be able to handle the larger and ever growing range of vessels that call at Laem Chabang. The gantry cranes will be fitted with spreaders with twin-lift technology to help expedite their moves, and have a reach of twenty-three rows wide. The gantry cranes are all operated by electricity and the RTGs a mix of electric and hybrid. This mix puts a focus on sustainability, the environment, and fuel costs-savings for HPT.
LM was on-site when the new equipment was delivered. Watch this video of the new gantry crane and RTGs arriving at HPT’s C1-C2 terminal.
HPT’s investment into Laem Chabang at Terminal C1-C2 and Terminals A2 and A3 at Basin 1 may be coming to a close, but investment into Terminal D is just beginning. The next step in Laem Chabang’s development is the construction of Terminal D, with the first phases of the new facility set to come online by the end of 2018. “Terminal C1-C2 is now handling vessels up to the 10,000 TEU range.”
“Larger mega vessels are a challenge currently, but the plan with Terminal D is to make it so the largest of vessels can come to Laem Chabang. These larger vessels may take some time before they cascade to Thailand, but we are still thinking ahead of the curve. We want to invest in cranes at Terminal D that are a little bit larger for the ships to grow into. It’s better to spend a little bit more now instead of dealing with a bigger problem in the future,” said Mr. Ashworth.
“Besides larger equipment, we are also looking into remote control technology for Terminal D, like a lot of ports around the world are already implementing. We’re quite convinced that some level of automation needs to happen. We’re looking at remote control most seriously where the operator isn’t in the cabin. The operator doesn’t operate the crane directly in a normal cab; instead they sit in a separate room with other operators monitoring the equipment. At the core of it, it’s a health and safety issue and it also helps to keep productivity high.”
Beyond the opening of Terminal D, Mr. Ashworth sees Thailand as being a major Southeast Asian gateway terminal for HPH in the next 5 to 10 years. ”We are in this for the long term and we’ll continue to invest in what we see as a future for us and our customers here in Thailand.”