MONROVIA – As part of efforts to promote productivity in the port sector and improve the Liberian economy, APM Terminals Liberia has officially dedicated two state-of-the-art 600-model mobile harbor cranes for the loading and unloading of containers from ships berthing at the Freeport of Monrovia.
The Freeport of Monrovia is considered as the heartbeat and gateway to the Liberian economy.
The German-made, Liebherr cranes worth about US$ 15 million were unveiled at a brief ceremony held at the premises of the Freeport on Bushrod Island, outside Monrovia over the weekend as part of the company’s latest investment to stakeholders.
The move is intended to enhance the productivity of the Port and reduce vessel waiting time for shipping lines, which will translate to a reduction of prices in the market for goods imported into Liberia direct boosting the economy.
This historic project has been driven by the notable partnership between APM Terminals Liberia, the National Port Authority, the Liberian Maritime Authority, and the Government of Liberia in particular.
Speaking at the ceremony, APM Terminals Liberia Managing Director Clay Crain disclosed that the unveiling of the cranes is the first of its kind in post-conflict Liberia.
He added that the cranes were dedicated due to numerous appeals from stakeholders and partners to help address constraints in the loading and unloading of ships at the Freeport.
He pointed out that the cranes have about 128 tires, and in the current configuration, it is about 90 meters tall and weigh over 500 tons.
“On this occasion, we present the cranes to our partners, stakeholders, and friends today. This journey began two years ago in response to appeals from Liberian stakeholders. The equipment you see behind me here is very impressive. It represents only a portion of the efforts that we needed to make this day possible.”
Mr. Crain pointed out the company has provided opportunity for several workers, including technicians to acquired training on how to safely operate and maintain the sophisticated cranes.
He added that these operators are fully equipped and ready to ensure the proper impact and handling of increased cargoes at the port.
He, however, assured that together with its regulatory stakeholders and strong partners, APM Terminals Liberia remains dedicated to transforming the Freeport of Monrovia into an economically viable gateway to the Mano River Region.
Delivering the keynote address, Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah observed that the unveiling of the cranes signifies a significant milestone in the history of the nation.
He said the cranes will help address some of the challenges, including electricity, road and port infrastructures that are negatively impacting development and trade in Liberia.
With the unveiling of the cranes, he noted that, government and its partners are gradually trying to overcome these challenges.
“Today is a very significant day in the history of the Free Port of Monrovia, the Republic of Liberia and for APM Terminals Liberia. The strong partnership between us and the various port stakeholders has been demonstrated once again and we are immensely grateful to all involved in this project. Let me please reiterate the importance of these partnerships and these steps of going above and beyond expectations. These partnerships are crucial to us, and we see it as the only way we can collectively transform the Free Port of Monrovia and the economy of Liberia.”
Minister Tweah further expressed the hope that the harbor cranes will increase transaction time, improve efficiency, and lower the cost of basic commodities for the benefit of both business owners and the ordinary consumers.
“We are happy today that the cranes are here and we are going to be able to feel the impact. We believe that we will have a big drop in prices with the availability of these cranes.”
He, however, commended APM Terminals Liberia for the historic and transformative purchase of the port equipment.
For her part, the Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) Diana Nebo highlighted the importance of the cranes and how in due course it would enhance the mandate and goals of the NPA.
“As the regulatory authority of ports in Liberia, we are invested in deepening our long term and collaborative partnership with APM Terminals Liberia. This new equipment is the most technologically advanced mobile harbor cranes in the world and will significantly enhance productivity and certainly help in our ambitious drive to reaffirm the Free Port of Monrovia’s position as the gateway to the economy of Liberia and the Mano River Union.”
The project is being spearheaded by the Head of Operations of APM Terminals Liberia Etienne Saint-Jean.
Mr. Jean pointed out that the various logistics, technical know-how, transfer of knowledge and training have all been acquired by Liberians to ensure continuous smooth operation and maximizing the capacity, efficiency, and potential of these new machines.
“The progress we have made to date lays the foundation for continued training and development of our teammates to delivery world class service and efficiency to our clients, customers and the people of Liberia. Congratulations to all my teammates for the time, dedication, and hard work we have all put in to make today a historic one.” Mr. Saint-Jean said whilst giving stakeholders the project highlights.
The cranes, along with the recently completed dredging of the Freeport of Monrovia, pave are expected to pave the way for even larger and more economical gearless vessels.
By enabling larger vessels with more containers to call, the unveiling of the cranes was in line with the country’s vision to attract more investments and stimulate economic growth.
The massive investment is also intended to enhance recent gains of the efficiency of the digital port processes and even further improve the ease of doing business and revenue mobilization for Liberia.
The brand new world-class mobile harbor cranes were built to APM Terminals Liberia’s specification and are applicable to quay and operations at the Freeport of Monrovia.
The cranes project received strong support from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Development, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Transport, Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), National Port Authority (NPA), Liberian Maritime Authority (LMA), National Bureau of Concessions (NBC), the Association of Shipping Lines Representatives of Liberia, Custom Brokers Association, Liberia Truckers Union (LTU), and all port users.