Ship loading tower upgrade for big chip vessels
By RACHNA LAL
The largest wood chip carrier to visit our shores docked at the Tropik Woods Industries Limited’ Lautoka Wood Chip port facility yesterday morning.
This was confirmed by Tropik Woods executive chairman, Faiz Khan.
Mr Khan said MV Crystal Pioneer is scheduled to take 50,000 gross metric tonnes of wood chip from their Lautoka and Wairiki Port in the North China.
“The total value of this shipment will be around $5.5 million,” he said.
But loading such a big vessel would have been quite a difficult task had it not been for the modifications carried out to the ship loading tower in Lautoka.
“Our engineers led by our general manager Engineering and Infrastructure, Wilson Mario, together with other support from management made loading a vessel the size of MV Crystal Pioneer a possibility,” he said.
“Over the last two months, they carried out significant modifications to our ship loading tower at Lautoka.
“Such initiatives are essential for our company’s growth and ongoing competitiveness with the rest of the world.”
“After loading part of the vessel with wood chip at Lautoka Port, the vessel will then go to our Wairiki Port to complete her loading,” he said.
Mr Khan also indicated that so far this year, also $10.95 million worth of wood chips have been exported.
Vessels capacity more
MV Crystal Pioneer has a hold capacity of 4.37 million cubic feet.
Mr Khan said by comparison, other vessels that have visited our shores in the past had the hold capacity of 3.7 million cubic feet.
“Comparatively, MV Crystal Pioneer will be loading about 25 per cent more wood chip,” he said.
“It is scheduled to take 50,000 gross metric tonnes of wood chip compared to 40,000 gross metric tonnes per shipment we used to export before.
“The larger size vessels allow economies of scale and accordingly reduces unit cost of shipment.”
Mr Khan stressed most of the costs associated with their business was linked to logistics.
“Once the trees are mature and ready for harvest, how the trees are transported to the mill and how the finished product is shipped out constitutes a large part of our business cost and challenge,” he said.
“The competitive edge of our business can be won or lost depending on planning of the logistics.”
Mr Khan revealed they are also planning a complete upgrade of the ship loading tower in Lautoka in January next year.
“This will make loading even more consistent and reliable,” he said.