Nestled away in the tiny Bahamian island of Grand Bahama is among the region’s most sophisticated container terminals, who now embark on world class cutting edge technology in ship-to-shore cranes. In addition to remote diagnosis, GPS ground systems, high tech ship-planning, and digitisation, the port has now introduced remote operated crane technology
Hutchison Ports Freeport Container Port (FCP) is offering the most technologically advanced Ship-to-Shore gantry cranes at the region. The terminal’s three newly commissioned Super Post Panamax quay cranes can be operated from a remote location, as opposed to the traditional manual operated quay cranes.
“FCP will become the first terminal in the region to operate these remote-controlled quay cranes in the terminal,” said FCP Engineering Manager, Charles Stewart.
“We have Bahamian technicians and engineers trained and they will be responsible for the maintenance and supervise these quay cranes. To have this type of technology in The Bahamas is an amazing feat,” he added.
These high tech advanced quay cranes are replacements for those that were damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Their presence means a full restoration to full capacity towards FCP’s terminal operations.
“It’s an amazing feeling to see how far we’ve come,” said Stewart.
Manufactured in China by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (ZPMC), these quay cranes arrived at Grand Bahama in early May after a three- month journey, allowing Grand Bahama to be the first terminal to possess such advanced technology in the region.
Crane operators will be able to operate these quay cranes from a Remote Control Operation Station, a significant shift from sitting in the cabins of the traditional manual cranes. The company has invested some $30 million to this cutting-edge technology.
“The idea is to perform better than we were prior to the hurricane and provide our global customers with first class services,” said Stewart.
Additionally, these cranes will increase efficiency, improve working conditions and provide a safety working environment to crane operators.
“The crane operators can now operate cranes of this magnitude in the comfort of an office environment. This working environment will significantly improve efficiency and productivity,” said Stewart.
These new quay cranes have undergone over two-months of a commissioning process. This included the conventional commissioning to ensure that these cranes are functioning manually and a commissioning of remote control functions. FCP engineers and crane operators worked with ZPMC personnel to complete the task.
“We’re in the process right now of familiarizing the crane operators and getting them used to the new technology,” said Joel Lewis, Electrical Engineer at FCP.
By the end of the training process, the company will have over 20 crane operators to operate these new cranes, Stewart said.
Last year, three crane operators traveled to Oman for training. Randolph Garland, one of the operators who trained overseas, said that he was grateful for the opportunity to learn new technology.
“I’m appreciative that FCP went to such extend to such training and act to secure these cranes at The Bahamas,” he said.
Stewart also praised the Harbour Pilots and the Project Departments involved who played an important role in helping to install these new quay cranes, which he added is something that The Bahamas can boast of for quite some time.
“We have the skill set here to maintain this technology and provide a high level of service that is on par to the global stage,” Stewart concluded.