Screeching, the windlasses are starting to move a 1,250-ton machine. This operation has been prepared for two days. The most difficult part is to seamlessly connect the rails used to transport the crane to the shore.
"When the crane itself is shifting to the edge of the vessel, the weight load on one side of the vessel is higher. Because of this, the vessel is tilting over to one side. The systems of the vessels start pumping water out from the side of the vessel where the crane is and pump it to another side, making the vessel slowly and smoothly shift to a straight position on its keel".
They once cut the broadside walls of Zhen Hua ship to enable the captain to flood it for ballasting for accurate alignment with the berth. The vessel has come from Shanghai to Novorossiysk, carrying three cranes of a kind that the Black Sea shore has never seen.
"With the cranes we have now, we can do only 25 moves per hour, the new cranes will allow us to raise this rate up to 28–30. It means that we'll be able to unload 28 to 30 containers per hour with each crane".
This unloading rate for TEUs, 20-feet shipping containers, exceeds the average rate in Russia. Thanks to the new cranes, the port will radically increase its cargo circulation which is large enough as it is.
"The estimated capacity of the terminal has been 350,000 containers. After the introduction of a new berth and installation of the new equipment, the planned capacity will be 700,000 TEUs".
"These cranes are unique in their own right, because they're the only ones of this kind in Russia, I mean, in the south of Russia. They're large and capable of unloading vessels with a capacity of up to 10,000 TEUs. Their cantilever span is 177 feet, so they can reach the farthest row of this large vessel".
Ocean carriers will also arrive in the Port of Novorossiysk. Berth 38 was built especially for them. It's the first deep-water berth in the south of Russia. The investment in the project by the DELOPORTS company amounted to over $120 million.
"As you can see, construction and rigging works of this scale are being carried out in a functioning port. It means that the port's management is conducting routine operation: vessels are arriving, mooring, both loading and unloading are being carried out... You need a certain level of expertise to work in such complicated conditions".
The Port of Novorossiysk is squeezed in-between the sea and mountains, hence no room for expansion. That's why an entire artificial island appeared here. It's about 300 feet wide and 1200 feet long. This is where the biggest cranes on the Black Sea shore will be unloading containers, which will later be transported to shore.
Before, the ocean carries were unloaded in Turkey, Romania, or Ukraine. Then, containers were transported to Novorossiysk by smaller ships. It took about two extra weeks. A deep-sea berth is removing a link of feeder service from the supply chain.
"It gives us a competitive advantage, as it'll be the only deep-sea berth in the region. We'll be able to accommodate vessels, carriers with 10,000 TEUs capacity".
It's been planned to build a deep-sea berth for ocean carriers to export grain. Now, it's being uploaded only to feeder, smaller, vessels.
Dmitry Kodachenko, Rasul Fedkulin, VESTI.