“For us, the only way for the yard to increase its capacity was to convert the operation from reach stackers to RTGs. The conversion to Konecranes RTGs gave us an additional 25 percent throughput capacity by increasing the number of slots”, says MPS CEO Mohamed Samara.
Meridian Port Services Ltd. (MPS), in the Port of Tema in Ghana, is nearing the coveted one million TEU mark and the latest Konecranes RTG technology is giving them a crucial competitive edge.
According to Samara, MPS recorded a quarter of a million TEU throughput in 2007. “Throughout the years, we responded to the market growth by adding additional capacity. In 2012, we reached three quarters of a million throughput, which prompted the need to add more capacity. To cope with the waterfront capacity, we had to increase the yard capacity. The only way for the yard to increase its capacity was to convert the operation from reach stackers to Rubber Tire Gantries (RTG).”
For MPS, the switch to Rubber Tire Gantries came after careful consideration of the terminal’s requirements. “Konecranes came with a solid offer and excellent support history references within the network in Abidjan and other ports. Basically, we took the chance and today I can say that it was a great success.” The first four RTGs were delivered to the Port of Tema fully assembled and were up and running very quickly. The level of training and support provided by Konecranes was a pleasant surprise for Samara: “Konecranes sent down engineers, and we received a massive amount of training and support from day one.” The next five RTGs arrived at the Port of Tema unassembled. The advantage of the on-site assembly was that it gave the MPS technical team the opportunity to work with and learn from the assembly engineers.
A long-term partnership
To ensure efficient maintenance and after-sales support for its Konecranes diesel-electric RTG cranes, MPS signed a maintenance agreement with Konecranes’ local dealer, Paterson Simons. Paterson Simons is responsible for keeping the RTGs in the best possible working order, and has six dedicated engineers deployed on the MPS contract. “We manage the RTGs, plan maintenance, monitor the hours, control all safety devices and loading calibration. We are reaching 99.3–99.5 percent usability in operation, and we don´t have any big issues with the cranes,” says Alex Rochet, Paterson Simons’s Service Co-ordinator for the MPS contract.
Unlike its neighbouring countries, Ghana enjoys relative political stability, and for the Port of Tema container terminal, the future looks bright. Mohamed Samara has seen how a bold attitude can bring results: “Ghana has always been very open minded and aggressive for new technology. MPS is the first terminal to reach one million TEU in West Africa. Having technology like Konecranes’ RTGs, adds pressure to other countries along the west coast to match that service. We have taken the lead and we are not stopping”.