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Subic Port Terminal operator tests new Flat Rail tech

By: creepysiren

Category: Development, Technologyโ€Ž

Location: Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Philippines

Date Published: October 09, 2019

The 14.3-meter long catamaran is loaded onto a 40-foot flat rack fitted with a pair of Flat Rails at both ends.

Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC), a unit of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), has successfully completed the first Flat Rail operation in the Philippines with the loading of a brand-new catamaran on a CMA CGM vessel.

SBITC, an operator of the New Container Terminals 1 and 2 at Cubi Point, performed the carefully planned operation in collaboration with Peters & May, an international freight forwarder and yacht transport specialist, and Bespoke Load Solutions, patent owner of the Flat Rail System used to load the cargo onto the ship.

The Flat Rail System uses a simple and innovative solution that enables the shipping of out-of-gauge cargo with dimensions that exceed the specifications of 40-foot flat racks.

“The Flat Rail System consists of two beams that are secured to the flat rack with twist-locks. With lifting points at the end of each beam, the complete unit load can then be loaded using slings attached to the spreader of the container gantry crane,” explained Bespoke Load Solutions Development Manager Chris Steibelt.

He added that “typically, a Flat Rail shipment will be in the range of 12 to 15.5 meters long and the width blocks the corner castings. The system can safely accommodate payloads of up to 44 tons.”

Using flat rails, the catamaran was loaded onto a single 40-foot flat rack. The process was simplified into two moves–first, sea to berth, and second, a berth to the vessel after the cargo is lashed to the flat rack and flat rail.

Traditionally, without the rails, the shipment would require at least six flat racks. The catamaran would be loaded as breakbulk and lashing would be done onboard the vessel. This method is significantly less efficient and more costly for the shipper because of the larger vessel space occupied by the cargo, and longer port stays as a result of extended loading time.

“SBITC has demonstrated its capability and flexibility to safely and efficiently handle complex shipments such as this. We have eight more catamarans on the way, and we are confident that we could further improve our process and deepen our partnerships with other businesses that require customized service to expand their markets,” said SBITC President and General Manager Roberto Locsin.

Built by full-service yacht agent Asia Pacific Marine – Subic, the 14.3-meter, the twin-hull vessel is export-bound for the Maldives. The shipment is the first of 10 catamarans commissioned by an exclusive resort group operating in six continents.

“We intended to deliver the catamaran in brand-new condition. With the guarantee by SBITC that they can safely handle our cargo, we know it is the best option for us,” said Asia Pacific Marine Managing Director Miguel Ramirez.

Earlier this year, SBITC said it added four reach stackers, increasing capacity at the port. The terminal operator said the equipment will increase its handling at its New Container Terminals 1 and 2

Each of the reach stackers has a 45,000-kilogram capacity and can stack up to five containers high.

SBITC said more equipment is expected to arrive in the first half which will ensure efficient port operations and optimize container yard space of the Subic port terminal.

The terminal operator has been boosting its capacity following SBITC ports’ assignment last year as a pickup and evacuation point for empty containers amid a surge in imports.

The port currently has seven reach stackers for yard and vessel operations.

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