OTAGO PORT RENEWS STRADDLES

Two newbuild Kalmar straddle carriers are expected to be in operation at Port Otago this September under the port’s ongoing fleet replacement programme.

Replacing two 16-year-old models from Port Otago’s existing fleet of 15 Kalmar twin-lift straddle carriers, the €1.6 million investment will entail one ESC350 and one ESC450 model, which are capable of three-high and four-high container stack lifts respectively.

Port Otago chief executive Geoff Plunket says the new straddle carriers — which are also diesel/electric models — will “definitely” improve operations.

“You only have to look at a car and how it has advanced in the past 16 years,” he notes.

“And clearly, our people like driving the newer machines. They are quieter as well, so a lower noise profile which is important for us at Port Chalmers … much better technology, smoother driving, better lifting. So definitely a step up.”

Mr Plunket says the business aims to introduce new straddle carriers every two to three years and has a policy of deliberately ordering in pairs so as to limit the technological differences across the entire fleet.

In a similar vein, he says the port has also made the deliberate decision to stay faithful to the one manufacturer.

“Our people understand the Kalmars and we have a long-term relationship with them.”

The investment does not form part of Port Otago’s ongoing $45 million Next Generation Project.

SPEED MONITORING PRODUCT FROM EROAD

New Zealand transport technology solutions provider EROAD has expanded its product suite with the launch of Max Speed Alert, in the interests of supporting health and safety compliance.

EROAD New Zealand general manager Tony Warwood says Max Speed Alert provides notifications of excessive speeding, so transport operators can take swift action to protect their drivers, the public and their businesses.

“Max Speed Alert provides timely, accurate information that lets fleet managers act quickly,” he says.

“Fleet managers can then hold discussions about speed exceptions, encouraging drivers to stay under the limit, helping prevent collisions, rol
lovers and unsafe driving behaviour.”

Via Max Speed Alert, EROAD customers can set specific speeds to trigger an alert for different assets — notifications can be set to allow higher or lower maximum limits on different vehicle types. The triggered E-mail noti
fications on excessive speed events include location, date, vehicle and driver details.

In addition to Max Speed Alert notifications, excessive speed events are noted on Over Speed Dashboard in Driver Insight reports. 

OCEANIA LOOP TWEAK

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is advising customers the Maersk Brani voyage 703S has had to be withdrawn from its current southbound voyage on the Oceania Loop 2 service to undertake urgent repairs in Manzanillo (Panama).

In a customer notice, the line this week stated that all import cargo onboard the vessel has been discharged at Manzanillo on January 29 and that the northbound vessel, Olga Maersk voyage 648N, is now en route to Manzanillo after calling at Cristobal.

“Export cargo to Philadelphia and Charleston will be discharged at [Manzanillo] and get loaded to a replacement vessel,” stated MSC.

It is understood that all import cargo discharged from the Maersk Brani is to be transferred to the Olga Maersk voyage 706S/706N on the following revised schedule:

  • Auckland February 18
  • Sydney February 22
  • Melbourne February 24
  • Port Chalmers February 28
  • Napier omit
  • Tauranga March 3
  • Auckland March 4
  • Cristobal March 20
  • Philadelphia March 28
  • Charleston March 31

Exports originally booked on the Maersk Brani 703S/703N will now be transferred to the Olga Maersk 706S/706N.

“Clients will be advised for their export bookings originally booked on the Olga Maersk 706S/706N when decision is made by the vessel operator.”

REEFER BOXES DEPLOYED BY MATSON

A fleet of 200 newbuild, high-cube refrigerated containers is being deployed by Matson South Pacific.

Acquired on a long-term lease, the new boxes will replace old, standard equipment which is being taken out of service, says Matson South Pacific general manager John MacLennan.

“Other Pacific Island carriers provide this equipment and Matson have been disadvantaged by not being able to do likewise,” he says

“These units will be deployed on our service to Fiji, Samoas, Tonga, Cook Islands and Niue.”

RE-RETIREMENT FOR MSP’s MACLENNAN

Matson South Pacific (MSP) is to soon have a new local head, with John MacLennan announcing his second entrance to retirement after leading the fledging division of Matson Navigation over the past four years.

“When Matson Navigation purchased Reef from the receivers and established MSP which commenced trading in January 2013, I was asked to come onboard for a six-month contract … four years later I am still here!” quipped Mr MacLennan.

Mr MacLennan, who was chief executive of Pacific Forum Line for almost 30 years before having a one-year relief tenure as the head of Reef Shipping, is to be succeeded by current Matson Pacific northwest operations manager Greg Chu.

Mr Chu, who is now in the throes of relocating from Seattle to New Zealand, commenced his career with Matson in 2004, with prime responsibility for directing vessel stevedoring, terminal and auto operations as well as co-ordinating container operations for the region.

Comments Matson Navigation senior vice-president Vic Angoco: “Greg was SSAT’s vessel operation manager for Terminal 25 at Seattle, which was a dedicated Matson facility and he was instrumental in the move of Matson’s operations from Terminal 25 to Terminal 18 in 2002.

“Prior to that, Greg was SSAT’s vessels superintendent for the Pacific Northwest Portion of Matson’s Pacific Coast Shuttle Service. In addition, Greg worked for Matson Terminals in Los Angeles as superintendent, terminal operations from 1996 to 1998.”

Complementing his maritime experience, Mr Chu is a former Lieutenant Commander in the US Naval Reserves, earning a BS in marine transportation from the US Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point and MBA in business administration from Loyola Marymount University.

ONEHUNGA TRAFFIC IMPROVEMENTS PRAISED

National Road Carriers (NRC) chief executive David Aitken has praised the traffic improvements being delivered through Onehunga by the East West Link project, noting members have welcomed the Neilson Street Bridge demolition and lower replacement road.

“These changes have improved the sight lines for freight drivers and given them extra space for safe turning,” he says.

“The connection between Neilson Street and Onehunga Wharf Road is now working much more efficiently with our members currently noticing better traffic flows.

“The NRC is committed to keeping New Zealand moving and this new lowered road is making it easier for freight and other heavy vehicles to travel through this important freight hub.”

It is understood drivers of heavy vehicles are also appreciative that they are no longer required to stop for the light changes on the steep gradient that was a feature of the over bridge.

Recently commenced by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), the $1.25 billion to $1.85 billion East West Link project will ultimately provide a four-lane road connecting State Highway 20 at Onehunga to State Highway 1 at Mount Wellington.

“This will make it far more efficient and reliable for freight to move through this important industrial and manufacturing area.

“It’s great to see both the NZTA and Auckland Transport aren’t waiting until construction on the wider project gets underway and is getting on with creating early gains and improvements in the area.”

CENTREPORT REGAINS CONTAINER SCHEDULE

CentrePort Wellington will begin hosting weekly ANL Trans-Tasman schedule calls as from February 12, marking the return of the port’s first regular container shipping service since the November earthquake.

A CentrePort spokesperson says the self-geared vessels will provide Wellington shippers with direct connection to Australia and via transhipment with North America, North Asia, South East Asia and globally.

“The services will berth on Aotea Quay Two, which is part of the 1000 metres of operational berth on Aotea Quay,” says the spokesperson.

“We have modified our processes to accommodate the ANL ships. We have already accepted geared ships since the earthquake. We are working closely with ANL throughout this process.”

The spokesperson expects the service will see “several hundred containers” loaded and unloaded per week.

It is understood CentrePort is actively negotiating with other self-geared containership operators in attempt to attract further callers, as it works to resume modified gantry crane operations within the next four to six months.

“Our key trades of ferries, fuel, logs, cars and cruise ships continue to operate. Indeed, since the earthquake many of these trades have performed very strongly. This shows the importance of the port to the economy of the central region, and the hard work we’ve put in to quickly resuming services.”

COUNTERFEIT CONTAINERS ACROSS TASMAN

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has advised the Customs Brokers’ and Forwarders’ Council of Australia (CBFCA) to be on the lookout for so-called counterfeit containers.

Also known as a fake, cloned or re-birthed container, a counterfeit container is one that has had its unique identifier erased from its exterior and replaced with that of another legitimate container.

According to the DIBP, a counterfeit container can be used as a substitute for a copied container to “facilitate a range of border-related offences”.

In a membership update, the CBFCA recounted a recent instance whereby an importer unpacking containers found them filled with cheap brick pavers instead of the goods ordered.

“The whole containers were substituted and counterfeited,” it stated.

“We were told that this particular incident was a very primitive attempt as the containers in question were very old and in poor condition. So the possibility for a more widespread sophisticated operation cannot be underestimated.”

The DIBP advises the following indicators could define a counterfeit container situation:

  • repainted display numbers
  • alterations to corner castings
  • display numbers not matching plate or casting number
  • evidence of grinding of the corner casting
  • original numbers partially hidden or showing through
  • container safety plate or manufacturer’s plate damaged, altered or replaced
  • any evidence of an attempt to replace serial numbers
  • incorrect placement of container number

It is understood that counterfeit containers have not yet presented as an issue in New Zealand.

DIESEL LOCOS DEFENDED

KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy has written a personal opinion piece to explain the national rail operator’s decision to purchase diesel locomotives to replace ageing electric locomotives for a section of the North Island Main Trunk (NIMT) Line.

In the piece, Mr Reidy acknowledged the decision was “never going to be easy”, but was taken after careful consideration of all options in a 24-month period of consultation with affected stakeholders.

“Our strategy of simplify, standardise and invest has been hindered by effectively operating a railway within a railway — diesel trains to Hamilton, then electric, then back to diesel again,” he stated.

“The complexity of the electric/diesel mix also meant having to employ drivers and mechanics with specific electric fleet knowledge or engineering skills. It meant more complicated train plans and load schedules.

“Some will ask why KiwiRail couldn’t just make the whole NIMT electric? That would cost $1 billion or more and would also require the networks feeding into the NIMT to be electrified as well, something estimated to cost $2.5 million per kilometre of single track. One day that might make sense but there are challenges such as the Wellington area’s electric network running on a different power system to Auckland’s.”

Addressing criticism about the environmental ramifications of the decision, Mr Reidy noted that even using diesel locomotives was better for than environment contrasted to those cargoes otherwise being moved via road.

Furthermore, Mr Reidy emphasised this was “not a forever decision”.

“Even though diesel trains are the best option for KiwiRail right now, the electric infrastructure will continue to be maintained on the line, leaving that as an option should it be required in the future.”

RTF UNIMPRESSED WITH INTERISLANDER LEVY

Road Transport Forum (RTF) chief executive Ken Shirley has expressed his members’ displeasure with a pending 15.5% “earthquake levy” to be introduced on commercial vehicles travelling on the Interislander.

Mr Shirley says the levy, which is due to be implemented as from the middle of next month, highlights the “deep seated” issues being faced by Interislander parent company, KiwiRail, which have been “brought to the fore following the damaging earthquakes”.

“The proposed levy is more an ongoing ‘capacity levy’ rather than an ‘earthquake levy’ and the restoration of the Picton to Christchurch direct road and rail routes will not solve the problem,” he says.

“There is a potential for this levy to become permanent once imposed under the guise of an ‘earthquake levy’.”

He says road transport operators are facing resistance from customers when negotiating recovery of this new cost which comes on top of the additional costs stemming from the alternative route connecting Picton with Christchurch and regions further south.

“Fundamentally it is now a different freight task. Many report additional costs of at least 20%.”

However, Mr Shirley emphasises that road transport operators “cannot and should not absorb these additional costs”.

“A greater effort is required to ensure that freight costs are met by the customer and consumer. An awareness and understanding of the problem is always a good starting point.”