Another First for PE and Huge Boost for Maritime Industry

DECEMBER 11, 2014

Port Elizabeth-based engineering company Afri-Coast Engineers has pioneered the “world’s first ever training crane for on-board ships”.

The company said in a statement that in collaboration with its partner Bidfreight Port Operations (BPO) said the development was “likely to become a global benchmark for training and development in the maritime industry”.

BPO General Manager Jimmy Prinsloo explains that the R2 million training crane was a response to the fact that “we had been struggling” to train operators for on-board cranes.

“The operation of these cranes is very technical and high risk for stevedores who are responsible for loading and offloading of a vessel,” he says, adding that “excellent hand-eye coordination” is required.

The problem, however, is that operational canes on board ships are designed for one man only and the cabs are too small for training, he says, adding that in Europe there are whole ships designed to school trainees.

Prinsloo says that all fabricating, welding, drilling, engineering and construction and assembly was done in Port Elizabeth, adding that while there were some “minor adjustments and electrical tweaks to be made...we have all given it a big thumbs up”.

BPO Operations Director Wandile Mzamo says he believes “the implications for this global first are significant,” and will “satisfy a huge number of training and development needs both locally and globally,” and open up “a global market for manufacture and reproduction”.

“We want to target the African countries on the coastline, because many countries on the continent still use geared vessels. By driving innovation, Bidvest, which owns BPO has opened opportunities on a global scale.”

He notes that the development “feeds into the national imperatives” of maximizing opportunities in the blue economy.

The simulator will be based in the PE Harbour, where it is anticipated that over 500 stevedores will be trained starting with 36 based in the city. - MetroMinutes.


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