Darwin Port to map container crane needs

Darwin Port Corporation is shuffling its container crane capacity at a busy time after existing asset fails

Darwin Port to map container crane needs
Darwin's container crane is to be replaced

The future of Darwin’s container operations depend on a report to the Northern Territory Government due before June.

Darwin Port Corporation (DPC) is currently shifting to Patrick and Qube cranes following a decision last month to decommission its own East Arm Wharf container crane due to a "major mechanical failure" in October.

The DPC estimates repair costs at a prohibitive $3 million and acknowledges the outage has caused delays in cargo handling at a busy time and with a trend towards container throughput growth.

"A new shore-based crane has been recently commissioned by Patrick Stevedores and is now available for use," it says.

"The Patrick crane has similar lifting capabilities to that of the de-commissioned container crane and will provide a more efficient method of discharging vessels than the ships’ equipment that has been used since the mechanical failure.

"A second mobile harbour crane is due to be available for use from mid-February 2014, commissioned by Qube Stevedores.

"This crane will also have a comparable capability to the decommissioned container crane.

"With two shore-based cranes operating at East Arm will provide significantly improved crane capability, well beyond the capability of the decommissioned container crane."

While not presented as anything more than a stop-gap measure, the move has led to Opposition and union comment that they are not container cranes and that the port needs a specialised replacement.

This crane study will cover the required capability, expected cost and delivery lead times for a replacement crane and will be used in the formulation of a business case, it adds.

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