The Port of Felixstowe has placed an order for 12 new Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGCs) from Zhenhua Port Machinery Company (ZPMC) in Shanghai, for delivery in May 2006. This is in addition to the order for nine RTGCs and one Ship-to-Shore Gantry Crane (SSGC) made towards the end of 2004, for delivery in October 2005.
This new order pushes the total number of RTGCs ordered by the Port of Felixstowe to 40 in the past five years, and is all part of the Port’s commitment to keeping pace with the current growth in trade.
The new RTGCs are capable of lifting one container over five, and can straddle seven rows of containers. The SSGC can handle containers stowed 22-wide, and has the ability to lift to 85 tonnes. All new cranes will be operational on the Port’s Trinity Terminal. This shipment will extend the overall number of RTGCs employed by the Port to over 100, and will increase the number of SSGCs in operation on Trinity Terminal to 25.
Richard Pearson, Managing Director of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, commented:
“This new equipment is part of the Port of Felixstowe’s ongoing commitment to improving productivity and customer service, ensuring that the Port is able to handle the increase in container volumes, and can accommodate the largest vessels in operation today.”
“The UK’s container ports will be reaching capacity within the next few years. We have plans for significant developments at Felixstowe South and Bathside Bay that will address the country’s medium and long-term needs. In the meantime, this new equipment, together with the additional people we will be recruiting, will help us to cope with trade growth over the intervening period.”
The growth in the container shipping industry has not only created a need for extra equipment and infrastructure, but has also generated a number of new jobs in the region. The Port of Felixstowe created an additional 200 jobs last year, and the continuation of this growth in trade, alongside plans to reconfigure Felixstowe South, means that recruitment will, once again, be a top priority. There are plans to create
another 220 jobs at the Port in 2005, of which 200 will be in operations, and 20 in engineering. Taking account of leavers and retirees, this will mean that around 500 new members of staff will be recruited this year, pushing the workforce at the Port of Felixstowe to above 3,000.