11/06/2012 | Editor: Marcel Dröttboom
The MS Navios Pollux was the first fully laden Capesize ship to reach Rhenus Midgard’s expanded Niedersachsenbrücke jetty in Wilhelmshaven on Sunday. The ship, which is 292 metres long and 45 metres wide, transported the largest cargo of coal ever to reach a German seaport.
Wilhelmshaven, Germany – The vessel, which operates under the Panamanian flag, set sail from the port of Puerto Drummond in Columbia with 171,477 tonnes of coal on board on 16 October and reached Wilhelmshaven after a voyage lasting 19 days.
“The arrival of the Capesize ship proves how successful the expansion work for our coal business at the Niedersachsenbrücke jetty has been. Now that the mooring basin has been deepened, we’re the only port in Germany that can handle fully laden Capesize vessels with a draught of up to 18.50 metres and a cargo carrying capacity of up to 250,000 tonnes of coal. As a result, we can offer a competitive alternative to the ARA ports,” says Matthias Schrell, Managing Director of Rhenus Midgard in Wilhelmshaven, underlining the benefits.
Rhenus Midgard will unload the coal, which was transported in nine holds and is bound for a German energy supplier, at its terminal during the next few days. Two thirds of the cargo will be unloaded directly to the storage area of a power station near the coast and Rhenus Midgard will initially store the remaining third at its own coal terminal. It will then be transported to customers further inland by rail in line with demand. This will involve loading block trains with up to 3,400 tonnes of coal.
The port logistics provider’s automatic train loading facility, which was only commissioned a few weeks ago, has a high loading capacity. Rhenus Midgard paid great attention to the accuracy of loading operations when the unit was designed in order to make full use of the wagons’ permissible load limits for the benefit of customers. “Wilhelmshaven has excellent connections with the
European rail network and the double-track upgrading of the line between Wilhelmshaven and Oldenburg will soon be finished. So there will be extra train paths available after the timetable changes in December,” says Michael Appelhans, Managing Director of Rhenus Midgard, outlining other advantages of the site.
The Niedersachsenbrücke jetty has been expanded to turn it into one of the largest coal terminals in Germany during the last three years. Among other things, Rhenus Midgard has installed two new double jib level luffing cranes, which complement the existing ship unloading equipment at the port. Once a second conveyor belt has been completed between the pier and the coal storage area in the spring of 2013, the time required to unload a vessel will be significantly reduced again.
“We’re pursuing the goal of gradually increasing the amount of coal handled at our terminal from about 1.6 million tonnes at the moment to between eight and ten million tonnes per annum,” says Michael Appelhans, summing up the situation. A first storage area, which is able to stockpile approx. 450,000 tonnes of coal, has already started operating and a second one will follow by the end of the year. Once the expansion work has been completed, the facility could have as many as seven storage areas with a total capacity of three million tonnes of coal.
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