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SAM

Published:
2018-10-08 11:55:00 BdST

Shipping lines turn gearless as Ctg port gets gantry cranes


FT ONLINE

Shipping companies operating to and from the Chittagong port are now switching over to gearless vessels instead of geared vessels after the installation of a large number of gantry cranes there.

This is expected to have a positive impact on the port's operations as the gantry cranes' output is higher than the geared vessels.

But top shipping executives say that there is a need for the overall improvement in expediting cargo movement.

Currently, some 80 vessels are of geared nature, which use their own cranes to load and unload containers from the vessels. On the other hand, 10 gearless vessels which now in operation to and from Chittagong port need off-shore cranes for the same purpose.

Operating costs of gearless vessels are also less than those of geared vessels as the later involves cost of operators and power.

The Chittagong port Authority (CPA) has so far seven gantry cranes and three more will be installed within the next one month.

The total gantry cranes at the port will stand at 10 by November next out of its 12 container jetties.

Officials at the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) said at least five vessels can take the advantage of gantry cranes from November. Currently, only two gearless vessels are allowed to operate at the port.

Ataul Karim, a senior executive at the Cosco Shipping Lines, a Shanghai-based shipping giant, said they have been trying to convert their vessels into gearless after the installation of gantry cranes at the port.

"This (gantry crane installation) is a good development at the port and that's why we're also moving towards gearless vessels."

Gearless vessels, also known as cellular vessels, are specially designed for the efficient storage of freight containers.

Mr Karim also said the hiring of such vessels is less-expensive as its supply is adequate in the global marine industry.

Another senior executive at the Sea Consortium, a Singapore-based shipping line, said that the Chittagong port lagged behind other global ports in terms of the use of sophisticated equipment.

"We're at least 15 years behind," he said, adding the move the installation of modern equipment will enhance its productivity.

A gantry crane can handle around 25 boxes an hour in contrast with geared vessels that can do around 15 boxes per hour.

A top official of another global shipping giant said there is a need for improvement in the overall system to derive the optimum benefits from the gantry cranes.

The terminal along with its two jetties has four gantry cranes since 2007 and its monthly container handling capacity is around 55,000 boxes.

In the meantime, the CPA chairman in a recent meeting requested all to consider deploying bigger and gearless vessels so that they can carry more cargoes.

The Bangladesh Container Shipping Association told the meeting that they will reduce the number of geared vessels as most of the lines in the international market are gearless.

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