Arrival of MHCs to Port d’Owendo

Extracted and translated from the Gabonese newspaper “L’UNION” (Tuesday, 24th April 2012)

Front page:

The 2 newly acquired mobile harbor cranes are officially operational. This should alleviate the problems of congestion and increase the handling productivity at the Port of Owendo. (Continued Page 5)

Page 5:

Infrastructure of Port
Towards the Modernisation of Port of Owendo


The company GPM (Gabon Port Management) has officially added 2 newly-acquired mobile harbor cranes (MHCs) in the logistic chain of the port. These MHCs are the first to be installed in “Under-Region” and should alleviate the problems of congestion and increase the port’s handling productivity.

The new cranes ordered by GPM have been officially exhibited yesterday at the Port of Owendo. The commissioning of the MHCs by the representative of the Minister of Transport, Emmanuel Jean Didier Biyé, is symbolic because they are the first to be acquired by a country in the “Under-Region”

The ceremony was held in the presence of representatives from the Port Authority, administrative representatives of the Owendo district, and the Chief Operating Officer of Transportation Logistic Business of Mitsui Group (the parent company of GPM): Mr Katsunori Aikyo.

The acquisition for the Gottwald cranes, at a cost of CFA Franc 5 billions, constitutes an important step in the modernization of Owendo port. Due to their efficiency and their technical specifications (with a weight of 500 tons, they are able to lift up to 100 tons of loads which is the equivalent of 1 locomotive) , they are able to improve the service time of vessels, and thus reduce considerably the delays of incoming vessels. For example, a vessel which would previously spend 2 days alongside to discharge the merchandises will only need to spend 12 hours now, thanks to the new cranes.

Mr. Rigobert Ikambouayat Ndeka, the general manager of Oprag (Office of Port and Rades of Gabon) views this milestone is both qualitative and technological because it is an opportunity to improve the logistic chain.

Previously vessels calling at Ports of Gabon use ships cranes that could only manage a productivity of 8 to 10 moves or 100 tons per hour. With the new MHC, productivity for containers will be improved to 30 to 40 moves per hour, while the productivity for bulk cargo will be increased from 400 to 600 tons per hour.

“The arrival of the cranes will not only reduce the waiting time of vessels but also the cost borne by the importers.” said the general manager of GPM, Philippe Gery.

In addition, these cranes provide a safety advantage, because ships will no longer need to unload in the harbor with all the risks that these maneuvers carry.

“The port operator, now at the receiving end of the new cranes, has the obligation to conform at this level of productivity, with the modernization of their equipment and processes” said the general manager of Oprag.
Projects: “However these new cranes alone are not sufficient to meet the challenges from the modernization of the port” said the general manager of Oprag. Conscious of this imperative, the Port Authority has come up with large-scale projects to make the ports more competitive. These include:

  • construction of a captaincy office that will be equipped with AIS and VTS systems by OPRAG
  • the expansion and modernization of the container terminal by the STCG
  • the extension of the linear quay and installation of gantry cranes

In addition, the Gabonese government has also come up with projects for the ports of Mayumba, the special economical zone of Port-Gentil and that of dry port of Ndendé.