The National, Thursday 20th September, 2012
By MALUM NALU
A TRANSPORT company representative said the rubber tyred gantries (RTGs) used in Port Moresby and Lae ports have become a liability rather than an asset.
He said this yesterday when commenting on the RTGs – large cranes which stand at 31.75m tall, 13.2m wide and 26.67m in length – which have been used in PNG since last year.
Another shipping source, Riback Stevedores’ general manager Peter Boyd, said yesterday RTGs were not the preferred method for alleviating space constraints at the Lae port.
These large blue gantries, which have been the topic for much criticism among port users, can stack up to six containers wide and seven containers high.
“RTGs break down frequently, and there seems to be no repair and maintenance programmes in place,” the source told The National.
“Operators are very slow to load and unload trucks
“Delays to pick up imported cargo are long, and often, cargo cannot be located under the RTGs, as only a manual tracking system is available.
“This causes further storage charges.
“Productivity is less than half of internationally-accepted standard lifts per hour.
“Stevedores are reluctant to use this due to productivity concerns
“The productivity and many others can all be improved, however, operators should be sent overseas for four to six months intensive training first.
“Likewise, a full repair and maintenance programme needs to be in place to avoid the continual breakdowns.”
Boyd commented: “The RTGS are certainly not the preferred method for alleviating space constraints at the Lae Port.
“Customs turnaround time for import clearances is abysmal.
“While there is a chronic shortage of off-wharf storage space – all these issues are creating the space shortage.
“However, as the RTGs are here and in use, we need to get the best out of them, there are some teething issues with the RTGs but we expect that within six to 12 months they should be operating to international standard as promised by PNG Ports.
“It now takes a minimum of two weeks for Customs to clear cargo prior to ship berthing, as opposed to the old system of pre-clearance.