International Ports Services Company Limited (IPS), the operator of the Dammam Container Port in King Abdul-Aziz Port in the Eastern Province saw the arrival of the very first Remote Control Quay Cranes in the Kingdom.
Over the last 5 years, the port operator, who saw their total throughput exceed 17 million TEUs (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) in November, has had to deal with an increase in vessel size from a maximum vessels size of 5,000 TEUs in 1998 jumping to 11,700 TEUs in 2014. As the vessel size has increased, so has the requirement to bring larger cranes in order to handle these vessels. Not only has the port operator invested in larger cranes, capable of extending further out to handle wider vessels, but they have chosen to bring the very latest in crane technology into the Kingdom.
Over the last 5 years, IPS has invested more than USD100 million in quay cranes, yard cranes and civil works in the yard in order to cater for the new generation of cranes and maintain a first-class performance.
The 3 new ZPMC ZP-13/2060 quay cranes, which arrived aboard the Zhenghua on 10th December, are capable of lifting 65 metric ton of cargo, have a lift height of 44 metres and can extend out to lift at 60 metres. They are also capable of being operated either in the traditional way by an operator in a mobile cabin, located on the top of the crane or by an operator located in the operations building in the terminal, a distance of 1kilometre from the vessel. The operators no longer have to contend with the fast moving cabin motion, or attempting to locate containers, some 40 metres below them. Instead, they can operate with a range of computer screens, from an air-conditioned office, closer to the central planning department.
These new cranes operate in only a few terminals around the world and are an indication of the level of planning for the future by IPS, who together with Dammam Port Management see the continuing need for Dammam Port to handle the largest vessels in the world to the highest of standards. “The new cranes are a quantum leap forward for port services in the Kingdom and confirm our continuing ability to offer shipping lines the fastest service possible in Dammam Port,” said Mr. Jay New, CEO of IPS Dammam.
The quay cranes are designed to improve the operating conditions of the crane operators and to achieve higher levels of productivity. Operators from IPS have already been sent to the ZPMC training factory in Shanghai, China and confirm that the cranes are a significant technological leap ahead for port operations. “It is a lot easier to control the cranes from inside an office; I am not moving around in the cabin and it is easier to perform to achieve a faster speed” said Abdul-Hamid, an IPS crane operator.
Mr. Naeem Al-Naeem (The Director General of King Abdul Aziz Port Dammam) who attended the welcoming ceremony for the cranes in the terminal commented that “SEAPA together with IPS believe that Dammam Port must continue to offer the highest levels of service to its customers. The latest investment by IPS confirms that King Abdul-Aziz Port offers shipping lines the most advanced port service and technology in the Kingdom.”
After the commissioning of the additional 3 new cranes and a new container berth, IPS will be ready to handle the new ultra large 14,000 TEU class vessels in 2015, reaching yet another milestone for Dammam Port.