The NAVIOS POLLUX was the first fully laden Capesize ship to reach Rhenus Midgard’s expanded Niedersachsenbrucke jetty in Wilhelmshaven in November last year. The vessel, which operates under the Panamanian flag, set sail from the port of Puerto Drummond in Columbia with 171,477 tonnes of coal on board on 16 October and reached Wilhelmshaven after a voyage lasting 19 days.The ship, which is 292 metres long and 45 metres wide, transported the largest cargo of coal ever to reach a German seaport.
“The arrival of the Capesize ship proves how successful the expansion work for our coal business at the Niedersachsenbrucke jetty has been. Now that the mooring basin has been deepened, we’re the only port in Germany that can handle fully laden Capesize vessels with a draught of up to 18.50 metres and a cargo carrying capacity of up to 250,000 tonnes of coal. As a result, we can offer a competitive alternative to the ARA ports,” says Matthias Schrell, managing director of Rhenus Midgard in Wilhelmshaven, underlining the benefits.
Rhenus Midgard unloaded the coal, which was transported in nine holds and was bound for a German energy supplier, at its terminal during the few days following the vessel’s arrival. Two- thirds of the cargo was unloaded directly to the storage area of a power station near the coast and Rhenus Midgard initially stored the remaining third at its own coal terminal prior to onward transportation to customers further inland by rail in line with demand. This will involve loading block trains with up to 3,400 tonnes of coal.
The port logistics provider’s automatic train loading facility, which was only commissioned a few weeks before the arrival of the NAVIOS POLLUX, has a high loading capacity.
Rhenus Midgard paid great attention to the accuracy of loading operations when the unit was designed in order to make full use of the wagons’
permissible load limits for the benefit of customers. “Wilhelmshaven has excellent connections with the European rail network and the double-track upgrading of the line between Wilhelmshaven and Oldenburg will soon be finished. So there will be extra train paths available after the timetable changes in December,” says Michael Appelhans, managing director of Rhenus Midgard, outlining other advantages of the site.
The Niedersachsenbrucke jetty has been expanded to turn it into one of the largest coal terminals in Germany during the last three years. Among other things, Rhenus Midgard has installed two new double jib level luffing cranes, which complement the existing ship unloading equipment at the port. Once a second conveyor belt has been completed between the pier and the coal storage area in the spring of 2013, the time required to unload a vessel will be significantly reduced again.
“We’re pursuing the goal of gradually increasing the amount of coal handled at our terminal from about 1.6 million tonnes at the moment to between eight and ten million tonnes per annum,” says Appelhans, summing up the situation. A first storage area, which is able to stockpile approximately 450,000 tonnes of coal, has already started operating and a second one was scheduled to be operational by the end of 2012. Once the expansion work has been completed, the facility could have as many as seven storage areas with a total capacity of three million tonnes of coal.
The Rhenus Group is a noted logistics services provides with annual turnover amounting to €3.3 billion. Rhenus employs over 19,000 people at more than 350 business centres. The Rhenus business areas — Contract Logistics, Freight Logistics, Port Logistics and Public Transport — manage complex supply chains and provide innovative value- added services.