SUNBIZ

FMF Takes Initiative In Port Efficiency

FMF Group Limited has made a long-awaited investment of more than $600,000 that would see its main product, wheat, being discharged at our ports at an efficient rate. With port
10 Dec 2014 11:36
FMF Takes Initiative In Port Efficiency
FMF Group chief executive Ram Bajekal (right) in Walu Bay, Suva yesterday. Photo: Rama

FMF Group Limited has made a long-awaited investment of more than $600,000 that would see its main product, wheat, being discharged at our ports at an efficient rate.

With port congestion issue now being looked into seriously, the largest importer of wheat invested into state-of-the-art radio-controlled mechanical grabs which is a first for Fiji.

A grab is a mechanical device with two or more jaws also known as clamshells.

It’s essentially used dredging bulk handling (in loading/unloading ships), and salvage (in ship-wrecks, oil) given the model type.

FMF Group chief executive Ram Bajekal said the three Peiner Smag-made grabs doubles the speed with which their current wheat is being discharged.

Initially they have had been relying on the three conventional grabs they’re using.

“This is a machine that will hugely help us in improving discharge of the wheat that we receive from Australia,” Mr Bajekal said.

“They have been sourced from Germany from one of the best companies in the world.”

He added it would now be more efficient to transport wheat from the port and to their silos in Walu Bay.

Mr Bajekal said current it takes about 14-15 minutes to discharge 22 tonnes of wheat but will be reduced between seven-eight minutes with the new ones.

FMF mill manager Timoci Naulumatua said: “The set target (volume of wheat discharge) is about 5000 tonnes in a day.

“Currently we’re bringing in about 30,000 (tonnes of wheat) and we’re only allowed six days to discharge the vessel.”

Mr Bajekal said not only will the timing decrease, but the labour cost in terms of stevedoring and port equipment use will be immensely reduced.

“As per the tariff that we are being charged this kind of equipment is meant to provided by the board authorities but they have not because we are not going to wait for that to happen,” he said.

“I hope that the Commerce Commission reviews the tariff that they’re charging us for wheat and reduce it because as per the tariff that they charges for labour plus equipment.”

The current tariff being charged is $5.38

 

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