“The volume of container traffic is increasing as more conventional cargo such as steel products and grains are now being shipped in containers. Local volumes of cars have seen a tremendous increase, especially in terms of transshipment. Westports has handled 150,000 cars compared with 12,712 for the whole of last year,” said Ruben Emir Gnanalingam, executive director of Westports.â€¨â€¨
According to Gnanalingam, productivity at the port is averaging 33–35 gross moves per hour per crane, while more and more shipping lines are achieving above 100 gross moves per hour. The port’s expansion programme saw the 600 m Container Terminal 5 (CT5) completed in September, and the port has also taken delivery of six more twin-lift cranes this year. With 34 cranes in total, its capacity has increased to 6.5m teu.
Gnanalingam predicted further growth in 2009, despite an expected decline in overall European and US trades as a result of the global downturn. “Westports has not experienced any decline in volumes to date. A review of local boxes shows that exports are growing at a faster rate than imports. Today, there is a marginal difference between imports and exports,” he said.