Sunday, August 26, 2012

Container and Gantry Crane Exports Demonstrate Growth of BRICS Freight and Shipbuilding Levels

Major Orders for Liebherr and Konecranes
Shipping News Feature

RUSSIA – BRAZIL – SOUTH KOREA – IRELAND – FINLAND – SWITZERLAND – Two of the world’s leading suppliers of dockside cargo moving cranes and heavy lift equipment have reported this week on the progress of orders to the BRICS group of countries. There is a certain irony that the giant Goliath gantry crane, with a single lift capability of 2000 tonnes which arrived in Brazil last week from suppliers Konecranes, was in part manufactured by the Finnish company’s facilities in South Korea. The ‘freight’ this gargantuan piece of machinery is destined to lift will initially be the huge pieces required to assemble eight hulls of Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) ships that will be used for offshore oil production projects.

South Korea has itself been a dominant shipbuilding country for the past few decades and in 2008 began to produce over half of the world’s new build tonnage and now it seems Brazil’s energy sector is prompting it to develop its own maritime construction industry further. Meanwhile the port sector in another of the five fast developing economies is also investing in cargo handling equipment with the news Swiss group Liebherr recently delivered and commissioned two panamax STS (ship to shore) cranes in Vladivostok and has taken orders for further STS cranes to be delivered to Novorossiysk and St. Petersburg.

The cranes delivered to the JSC Commercial port of Vladivostok have gone into operation at the port and join a pair of Liebherr RMG cranes in operation since 2011. The new cranes have an outreach of 38m, a back reach of 11m and have a span of 15.3m. The 60 tonne twin lift cranes have a spreader height over rail of 28m and all drives are Liebherr A.C. Both cranes feature remote diagnostics which can be accessed from the port or from the Liebherr Container Cranes service department in Ireland where they were constructed.

JSC Nutep in Novorossiysk has ordered a second STS crane with a safe working load of 50 tonnes to match one which the company bought from Liebherr in 2009. In St. Petersburg, Liebherr has signed a major contract with OJSC Petrolesport for the supply of 3 Panamax Ship to Shore cranes. The cranes have an outreach of 38.5m, a back reach of 15m, a span of 22.5 m and a S.W.L. of 50 tonnes with a single lift telescopic spreader. Liebherr product manager Paul Bolge commented that the new repeat orders from across Russia were a testament to the quality, availability, longevity and the low lifetime costs his company’s equipment.

The Brazilian order for Konecranes reinforces the points made in our March article which established that the spread of shipbuilding facilities in the country indicates it will be the prime market for the industry in the coming decade. Often such development takes place on behalf of South Korean shipbuilders themselves as they eye overseas investment opportunities. Konecranes is the world’s leading provider of the giant Goliath gantry cranes with their 210 metre rail span and 2,000 tonne payload, having delivered over 60 of them to shipyards around the world, and installation of the latest addition at the Polo Naval do Rio Grande shipyard is scheduled to be finished at the end of this year.

The mammoth crane was ordered by Engevix Construções Oceânicas (‘Ecovix’) and arrived at its destination in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil last week after Konecranes received the initial order in October 2011. President of Ecovix, Gerson de Mello Almada, commented:

“With the installation of the Goliath gantry crane we will contribute to the productivity of the Polo Naval do Rio Grande shipyard – already known for having the biggest drydock in Latin America – so it will be better prepared and become more competitive to face the challenges of naval assembly with high technology for the national and international markets.”

Photo: The two new Liebherr STS cranes working at the JSC Commercial port of Vladivostock