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New design concept “could transform shipping in Africa”

New design concept “could transform shipping in Africa”

Dubbed the Multi-User Offshore Hub, it is designed for two or more users and consists of an offshore, smart terminal arrangement and docking system that can accommodate oceangoing vessels and barges. The company believes that it can significantly increase capacity and reduce port construction and operation costs.

“As existing African ports become more and more congested, increased capacity is an urgent need for both the import of consumer goods and the export of minerals,” said Marco Pluijm, the company’s senior ports specialist, who unveiled the new concept in August at the African Ports Evolution 2013 Forum in Cape Town.

“This solution could provide a reduction of up to 40% in port infrastructure construction costs compared with building a traditional port and up to 50% in operational cost savings as the hub can handle much larger Capesize and Valemax vessels, which result in economies of scale,” he added.

The concept combines a country’s existing transport modes, such as rail and river barges, to provide the most efficient and sustainable logistics possible. The company is currently identifying suitable sites in both East and West Africa.

The company has worked in Africa for more than 70 years and is currently leading a three-year joint-industry research project to improve the safety of mooring large cargo vessels off the coast of West Africa.