As exports from Vietnam continue to boom, interest grows apace in bringing larger and larger container ships to the region.
Vessels with a displacement of hundreds of thousands of tons and capacities of up to 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) are now plying the trade routes. These huge vessels require capacious terminals, large ship-to-shore cranes and container handling technology that is versatile, reliable and robust enough to handle the big workload generated and the fast turnarounds required.
One such port with such facilities is the new Cai Mep International Terminal (CMIT) in the Ba Ria – Vung Tau province of Vietnam. This natural deepwater port, 50 kilometres downriver from Ho Chi Minh City, has selected Konecranes container handling equipment to move cargo about the port, including two laden reach stackers, one empty reach stacker, two empty container handlers, and one 25-ton forklift, all supplied in 2011.
The Konecranes lift trucks employed feature many innovative solutions that enhance their versatility, reliability and safety, including box-type chassis, loading sensing hydraulics that produce power on demand, electronically controlled environmental engines, and newly designed cabins with improved ergonomics. Joysticks are standard equipment on all Konecranes container trucks.
Among the reasons given by Cai Mep International Terminal for choosing Konecranes container handling equipment for their terminal is that it offers very good value for money. Another reason is after-sales technical assistance, which is critical to CMIT in keeping the port operating.
“Konecranes is well represented in the region,” said CMIT Head of Technical Maurizio D’Orfeo. “They have an office in Vietnam that I contact. The availability of parts and technical assistance was definitely a factor in our choice of Konecranes.
“Our operators and technical staff received a lot of training on the container movers as part of the Konecranes’ supply contract. Their trainers came from regional, Vietnam and European offices. In future, if there are any issues, we can know we can reach a person in either region.
“We also chose Konecranes as a supplier because they set up an office here in Vietnam. That was a further factor in our decision.”
Mr D’Orfeo said that it was CMIT policy to have a single supplier of each type of equipment. “All the Konecranes lift trucks we bought, for example, use Cummins diesel engines. That helps us standardise as much as possible and simplify maintenance.”
As CMIT expands, taking up the full 600 metres of quayside available, more lift trucks and other handling equipment will be needed. CMIT has already hosted the largest container vessel ever to dock in Vietnam. The CMA CGM Columba, with 131,263 DWT and a capacity of 11,388 TEU, tied up at CMIT on March 30, 2011.
At full capacity, Cai Mep International Terminal will be able to handle 1.1 million TEU annually, including 840 refrigerated containers. The port already has major customers, CMA CGM,the Grand Alliance of NYK, OOCL, and Hapag-Lloyd, and Maersk Line. CMIT, a joint venture between APM Terminals, Saigon Port and Vietnam National Shipping Lines, has quay cranes an exceptional 42 metres high and 22 rows across, giving it the capacity to handle up to the current 15,000 TEU Maersk Line PS Class vessels.
Konecranes South East Asia Regional Director Steve Gagnuss says Konecranes is well positioned to service such port growth in Vietnam as the country invests in infrastructure for the future, in the knowledge that Vietnam has a lot of growth ahead as it catches up with the established regional economies of Thailand, Malaysia and China.
“Service and reliability are keys to the market, and our service and range are major advantages that have been enhanced by the establishment of Konecranes Vietnam, a fully owned subsidiary of Konecranes Finland,” he said. Konecranes is a world leading manufacturer of lift trucks, with lifting capacities of 10 to 60 tons and more than 50 years experience in producing advanced technology based on customer needs.”
Included in the company’s range of port, terminal and shipyards cranes are forklifts, empty container handlers, reach stackers, straddle carriers, gantry trucks, top loaders, RoRo trucks, RTG and RMG.
“Few competitors can match the versatility of our range of specialised port handling equipment,” said Steve Gagnuss. “In addition to our lift trucks’ technical and operational innovations, another advantage is that we use essentially the same types of components – engine, gearbox, hydraulics and electrical system – in all our models. This means that if the customer has several different Konecranes lift trucks, they can be managed and serviced with fewer spare parts.
“Maintenance costs during the lifetime of the lift truck have recently been reduced by extending the service interval on the engine to 500 hours, the gearbox to 1000 hours, and hydraulics to 2000/4000 hours.
“A further benefit to the customer is that we build our trucks based on the user’s needs, optimally adapting the vehicles for the particular heavy duties that await them,” Mr Gagnuss said.
As well as port handling equipment, Konecranes range includes industrial cranes, chain hoists, wire rope hoists and workstation lifting systems.
The company also offers total maintenance services including installation, repairs, upgrades and spare parts. It operates 24 hours, seven days a week, from its engineering offices in Vietnam and in nearby Thailand.
Konecranes worldwide has worked with materials handling companies for more than 50 years, offering customised solutions for transporting containers, wood, steel, paper, concrete, machinery and industrial products. Employing more than 10,500 people at more than 575 locations in 46 countries, Konecranes has more than 373,000 cranes of all brands under service and maintenance contracts. The company is a world-leading provider of lifting and maintenance solutions, with a track record in pioneering, leading and shaping development in the industry, as well as an enduring strength in ports and materials handling.