“Mama Mobokoli” to unload vessels in the Congo

Belgium-based E-Crane International Europe is currently towing a floating terminal to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where it will be used to unload vessels in the port of Matadi.

According to the company, this is a cost-effective and flexible solution that could offer benefits to a wide range of users.

The “Mama Mobokoli” moored in the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. It is now being towed to its destination – the inland port of Matadi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The floating terminal currently making its way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is called “Mama Mobokoli”; in Lingala, which is one of the Congo’s official languages, this means “the mother that takes care of you”.

Mounted on a 1000 m² barge, the 1500B-Series E-Crane® from Belgium-based E-Crane International Europe boasts a reach of 39.5 metres and a lifting capacity of 13.5 tonnes. The cabin is located 14 metres above water level and can be elevated to a height of 35 metres, while the platform has an unloading capacity of 400 tonnes per hour. A 550 kVA/350 PK generator allows the barge and crane – which have a combined weight of 1100 tonnes – to operate independently.

The “Mama Mobokoli” is destined for the DRC port of Matadi where it will be used to unload ships with capacities of up to 25 000-30 000 tonnes. Matadi is the inland port farthest along the Congo River and, as with many African facilities of this type, users are confronted with major congestion problems; the existing infrastructure is outdated and neglected, and only one of the ten original quays is still operational. As a result, waiting periods for a berth can run into several weeks.

Such problems prompted Seaboard Corporation, which owns a local flour mill, to review its options which included investment in the existing infrastructure or construction of a new quay. Ultimately, the company decided a floating trans-loading station would be the quickest as well as the most flexible and cost-effective solution.

The “Mama Mobokoli” will be towed alongside the vessel; once secured, the E-Crane® will unload the cargo.

Floating bulk-handling terminals

To date, E-Crane International Europe has delivered 15-plus barge- or ship-mounted E-Cranes worldwide. These floating bulk-handling terminals are suited to both port operations (ship-to-shore) as well as midstream transfer (barge-to-ship and ship-to-barge). According to the manufacturer, this concept offers a number of proven benefits: the complete terminal can be built and tested, and then floated to its final destination; the terminal can be located at the closest point suitable for the end user; local regulatory requirements relating to the terminal are generally limited; the complete terminal can be relocated quickly and cost effectively if required; and the relatively low cost combined with a short delivery time provides for an excellent return on investment. In addition, there is the option of incorporating floating buffer storage capacity to smooth out inbound and outbound delivery peaks and troughs.

The “E” in E-Crane® stands for “equilibrium”. The design is based on a parallelogram-style boom that provides a direct mechanical connection between the counterweight and the load. This system ensures near-perfect balance throughout its full working range. The E-Crane® product line is divided into different series, with capacities ranging from 7 to 45 tonnes and reach from 20 to 50 metres.

Source: Recycling International, May 2008

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