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Giant crane delivery ship runs aground off Cochin, causing delays

THE opening of India's first international transshipment terminal suffered a setback when the ship delivering four gantry cranes from Shanghai ran aground after insufficient dredging was done to accommodate the berthing.

The Chinese crane carrying ship, Zhenhua 10, could only be berthed after dredging was carried out. But it was not enough because the ship ran aground. It was moved off and conducted to the Ernakulam wharf of the old port.

The Cochin Port authorities said further dredging would be done and the Zhenhua 10 brought to Vallarpadam shortly, reported the Gulf Times of Doha, Qatar.

The Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Company's (ZPMC) barge was at berth and over the next four days the cranes will be offloaded and the commissioning process will begin at Vallarpadam on the south eastern coast of India.

The facility is, built and operated by the Dubai Ports World (DP World. The four postpanamax quay cranes, capable of lifting two containers simultaneously, will service customers at the 600 metre quay and 40 hectares of yard of the Cochin International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT), DP World, reported the Gulf Times of Doha, Qatar.

Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh will commission the terminal in October though the soft launch is expected in weeks to come.

"This is an important milestone in the development of our new terminal at Kochi, which we plan to officially open this year. The ICTT will extend the services we offer our customers, helping them improve efficiency and reduce supply chain costs," said Anil Singh, senior vice-president and managing director of DP World (subcontinent).

The ship-to-shore cranes being commissioned at ICTT have the capacity to handle 65 tonnes under the spreader. The boom has an outreach of 56 metres enabling it to serve the largest vessels, carrying 22 containers across the deck, comparable with any modern container terminal in the world.

Fitted with numerous safety devices and sensors, the cranes ensure high productivity and safe working conditions. The four twin-lift quay cranes will be complemented by the 15 rubber tyre gantry cranes (RTG) ready for operation at ICTT.

The project achieved two milestones in May - the completion of all 11 bridges and installation of 11 eco-friendly RTGs.

Dredging work is due to be completed this month, equipping the terminal with a 14.5 metre draft, giving Cochin the ability to handle some of the largest vessels.

The build, operate and transfer (BOT) contract was signed between the Cochin Port Trust and India Gateway Terminal (IGT), a subsidiary of DP World in 2005, and the foundation stone laid by the prime minister on February 16.

IGT awarded the contract for the phase I development of terminal with 600-metre berth on November 22, 2007, for a contract value of US$150 million. Construction works commenced on December 15. As of June 30, the physical progress achieved was 95 per cent.
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