Jeddah's new container port finally takes shape

02 July 2009
JEDDAH: The arrival of ten Rubber Tyred Gantries (RTGs) at the Red Sea Gate Terminal recently stamped the seal of authenticity on Jeddah's new container handling terminal. At a dockside celebration for the management and construction teams to mark the arrival of the cranes, Mazen Matar, project director for Red Sea Gateway Terminal, said; "The delivery of this first batch of operational equipment for Red Sea Gateway Terminal is an important milestone in the history of the project and coincides with the completion of first and second phase of construction works."

The independently mobile and fully steerable RTGs, built by ZPMC (Zhenhua Port Machinery Co. Ltd.) in China to the latest technological specification and delivered ready assembled, will form a vital part of the new terminal's operating infrastructure. Each crane is capable of handling 40 foot containerized loads and move them over seven storage rows from shipboard to truck suspended under their 24.4-meter gantries at a lift height of 18.4 meters.

Covering over a million square meters, the new container port, (JIP) complex, will provide vitally needed capacity to Jeddah's burgeoning impex business. The Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT), a subsidiary of Saudi Industrial Services (SISCO) public shareholding company, is constructing the port under a BOT agreement. When the facility is completed, it will be of world-class standards and able to handle the new generation of giant container ships. Many of these behemoths -- up to 400 meters long and more than 50 meters wide, have been ordered in the past few years and represent the new generation of ships with a capacity of 12,000 to 13,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) -- about twice the capacity of the largest ships 10 years ago. RSGT, by handling up to 1.5 million TEUs a year when fully operational, will increase the existing capacity of JIP by 45 percent.

During its construction, the RSGT set a new Gulf record by using massive 480-ton blocks, constructed on site and positioned on the seabed by GPS guided floating crane, to form the quayside. This is only the second time anywhere and the first in the Gulf that blocks of this size have been used. The reinforced lay-down and storage area maximizes the capacity of the terminal by allowing stacking of containers seven-high, which the newly arrived cranes were designed to handle.

To accommodate the new generation of container super-carriers, the turning basin and quayside had to be increased in depth from 14 to 18 meters.

RSGT was very aware of the potential for negative environmental impact and has installed filtering dams that prevent debris from the dredging drifting into the Red Sea. Furthermore, the concrete used for the blocks is a special composition that does not leach toxic chemicals into the sweater and further reduces environmental hazard.

A further two RTG's is scheduled to arrive together with four giant Quay Cranes on July 17. The huge quay cranes are able to handle two 40 foot or four 20 foot containers at the same time.

This makes them the biggest cranes of their type in the region, the first in Saudi Arabia and will be visible from several kilometers outside the port complex. "We expect to be able to launch operations in the last quarter of 2009," Matar confirmed.

"Then we will be in a position to provide high-quality services to shipping lines and consequently contribute to developing further national economy".

By Roger Harrison

© Arab News 2009


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