New crane installed at port | PHOTOS

SIMEC's Whyalla Port has further increased its third-party cargo capabilities, with the installation of a new, state-of-the-art mobile harbour crane.

The impressive machinery replaces the long-serving stockbridge, significantly improving the port's reliability and productivity through increased capability and cycle times.

SIMEC Mining Executive Managing Director, Matt Reed, said the new crane was another step toward transforming the Whyalla Port into a world-scale, multi-user facility.

"This is all part of opening up our facility to the global shipping market," Mr Reed said.

"The new equipment more than doubles our capacity per grab, while offering an hourly load rate nearly five times that of the old stockbridge.

"It also enables us to handle not only bulk and break bulk, but also container and rotainer services for the first time, so it completely changes our cargo capabilities.

"The fact it's mobile also offers a host of unique advantages - including being able to assist other areas within the steelworks.

"Combined with the increased stevedoring and port capability of our new contractor partner Qube, we expect to significantly ramp up thirdparty involvement in the facility."

SIMEC has already attracted increased third party usage, recently completing the transport of wind farm components for the Lincoln Gap renewable project near Port Augusta.

Mr Reed said this was part of transitioning to a more open port that could meet an extensive array of both internal and external customers' needs.

"Although we've demonstrated our ability to transport numerous third party cargoes in the past, the wind farm shipment proved our capability to handle more than just mining and manufacturing related materials, and so has created increased interest in the transport industry," he said.

"We will continue to adapt our infrastructure, systems and processes in conjunction with Qube to establish a world class facility."

Mr Reed said SIMEC would continue to operate the existing stockbridge until the new crane was fully mcommissioned and established.