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P&O Ports has signed a full service contract with Kalmar for the provision of preventative and breakdown maintenance, engineering support and spare parts supply for the 20 ESC 7th generation straddle carriers operating at its new Antwerp Gateway terminal. The contract, based on a fixed hourly rate, is for 8,000 machine hours – the equivalent of approximately two years.

The deal is more than just a service contract though, because it is based on close cooperation between the technical staff of P&O Ports and Kalmar. P&O Ports will also have full access to the engineering expertise and support at Kalmar factory in Finland.

P&O Ports is constantly evaluating the benefits of the cooperation. Explains Piet Wauters, Director Technical Services at P&O Ports Belgium:

We are monitoring operating costs, availability and reliability closely at all times because this is the first time that our company has signed a full service contract for a large-scale straddle carrier operation.

We believe that by joining forces with Kalmar, we can increase productivity, and minimise operating costs. Moreover, making use of Kalmar expertise will enable us to concentrate on the efficient management of Antwerp Gateway.

Despite being in its early stages, the cooperation has already impacted positively on the terminal handling capabilities, according to Mr Wauters:

Not only did the first ship to call at Antwerp Gateway arrive late, it also arrived on a Sunday. However, Kalmar technical staff were still at hand to provide assistance.

In practice, workload at the terminal is now divided between P&O Ports and Kalmar technical staff, whereby the former operate the machinery during the night and Sundays, and the latter during the day from Monday to Saturday. Briefings between shifts are held to ensure that both parties are well-informed regarding the overall operation at the terminal – a joint venture between P&O Ports, Maersk, Duisport, Cosco Pacific and CMA-CGM, and managed by P&O Ports.

Kalmar 7th generation ESC straddle carriers were introduced last year to respond to the need for increased productivity, efficiency and environmental sustainability in the shipping industry.