Though a small fraction of the purchase cost of an STS Crane or RTG, third-party inspection and review services in support of new equipment orders can provide significant cost savings, yielding an important competitive advantage for port and terminal operations, according to Managing Director of APM Terminals' Crane & Engineering Services (CES) unit, Halfdan Ross.
This principle is an increasingly important operating cost factor as global port and associated infrastructure investment increases to accommodate larger containerized trade volumes and the larger vessels now entering into service in the global containership fleet.
Addressing the Terminal Operations Conference & Exhibition (TOC) Europe 2011, Mr. Ross pointed out that the total cost of crane ownership is not reflected only by the purchase price, but is comprised of several functions, including expenses associated with late delivery, operational performance, running costs and design specifications which may vary from the original ordered parameters.
“The cost of third-party inspection services ranges from 0.8% to 3.6% of the purchase price of an STS Crane, but the cost of terminal downtime resulting from malfunctioning or improperly installed cranes can run as high as US$35,000 per day,” cautioned Mr. Ross.
Other unfavorable consequences of operating delays caused by crane handover following delivery by the manufacturer for ports and terminals included penalties mandated by concession contracts, and lost business opportunities as vessels are redirected and reputations tarnished.
Crane issues can be plotted graphically as a “Bath Tub” curve, Mr. Ross pointed out, with most defects and problems occurring in the initial phase of implementation, and toward the end of the equipment’s lifespan, with minimal problems during the crane’s expected operating career. This critical operating phase of the crane lifecycle can be extended through the use of expert crane inspection and commissioning supervision, he explained.
CES, which is a separate business unit within APM Terminals, has managed the inspection and commissioning of more than 150 STS Cranes and more than 300 stacking cranes, including the newest cranes capable of accommodating the world’s largest container ships.