Vietnam's Cai Mep International Terminal took delivery of the first two of six super post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes that will enable it to handle the largest container vessels.
With an outreach of 22 container bays, CMIT will be the first terminal in Vietnam able to handle ships with capacities up to 15,000 20-foot equivalent units when it starts operations March 15.
The terminal in the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex some 50 miles southeast of Ho Chi Minh City will receive more ship-to-shore cranes and rubber tire gantries by mid-February.
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The terminal will have direct access to the new dredged Cai Mep Terminal Channel offering a minimum water depth of 46 feet, according to Michael Them Rasmussen, General Director of CMIT.
"With the new deep water access and the continuing flow of newbuildings exceeding 10,000 TEUs into the Asia-Europe trade, interest in bringing larger and larger container vessels to Vietnam has continued," Rasmussen said.
Vessels exceeding 11,000 TEUs have been announced for direct services calling at Cai Mep, "and CMIT will be ideally placed to handle such services," Rasmussen added.
Twelve vessel strings are currently offering direct liner services between Cai Mep and North America, Europe and the Mediterranean with a further three new services announced recently.
Container traffic at Cai Mep and Ho Chi Minh City ports surged 21 percent in the first 11 months of 2010 from the previous year and is expected to reach 4.3 million TEUs for the full year.
CMIT is a joint venture among APM Terminals, Vietnam National Shipping Lines and Saigon Port.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.