The Port Authority of Jamaica officially welcomed one of the largest container ships globally, the Zim Antwerp, on its maiden voyage to Jamaica, Thursday (February 4).
The vessel, which docked at the Kingston Container Terminal’s (KCT) Western Berth, Port Bustamante, on Tuesday (February 2), is part of a fleet of ships operated by the Israeli company, Zim Integrated Shipping Services Limited. The company has been operating in Jamaica close to 40 years and is the oldest client of the KCT, having been utilizing its facilities since they opened in 1975.
One of a new line of container ships playing an increasing role in global cargo shipping, the Zim Antwerp measures some 334 metres in length, 63.5 metres in height, with a gross tonnage of 114,044. The vessel is capable of carrying some 10,062 20-foot Container Equivalent Units (TEUs).
It was built by the Hyundai Corporation of South Korea, which completed construction in December 2009. The Zim Antwerp came to Jamaica to unload some 700 containers and relocate another 5,600 constituting, approximately, 8000 TEUs.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon Pearnel Charles (centre), and State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Marlene Malahoo-Forte (right), view the Zim Antwerp at the Kingston Container Terminal’s (KCT) Western Berth, Port Bustamante, on Thursday (February 4). They officially welcomed the ship, which was making its maiden voyage to Jamaica. Looking on is General Manager of Carib Star Shipping Limited, local agents for Israeli Zim Integrated Shipping Services Limited, Captain Diedrich Suendermann.
Speaking at Thursday’s ceremony at the KCT, Chairman and President of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Noel Hylton, noted the significant increase in activity at the port since the ship’s docking.
“We are averaging, on a steady basis, 42 container moves per hour. That means that every hour, we load 160 containers into this vessel, and I think that we will continue that level of productivity,” he stated.
Mr. Hylton noted that the port facilities, particularly at the Western Berth, were designed to handle ships of the type, highlighting the eight Super Post Panamax cranes which have been installed to effect timely loading and off-loading of containers.
“I’m sure that in 2013/2014, we will see three or four vessels of this type berth in Kingston at the same time, because these ships will be plying the Panama Canal, when it’s opened,” he said.
“I think ports are rushing to be able to handle these ships in 2013 and 2014. But, we are way ahead of them, in this respect, and we want to continue to be ahead of them in all respects as we go along,” Mr. Hylton added.
In his remarks, Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Hon Pearnel Charles, commended the board, management and staff of the Port Authority for their “forward planning”, which resulted in the establishment of the container terminal, citing that the capacity of 10,000-12,000 twenty-foot containers to be placed on a ship is “something of a miracle”.
Mr. Charles pointed that this would facilitate smoother transshipment between both hemispheres. He was also optimistic of more container ships coming to Jamaica on completion of the Canal, pointing out that this would improve the shipping industry in Jamaica.He said the Government valued the partnership between Jamaica and Zim Integrated Shipping Services Limited.
Noting what he said were planned future developments at the Kingston port, Mr. Charles assured the Port Authority that the government will continue to support the development of container shipping in Jamaica.
Zim’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Captain Chaim Shacham, said that the Zim Antwerp was the fourth of what is referred to in the company as a “mega vessel”, and was the second of the 10,000 TEU series.
“The relationship between the Port Authority and Zim is a very long-term story. Like every relationship, we’ve had our ups and downs, but the fact is, 40 years after this relationship was established, we are still here. Zim is now moving, every year, over one million TEUs through this port,” Captain Shacham said. The Zim Antwerp departed Kingston on Friday for China.