Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology

R.K. Geurts Investigation for container handling equipment at Can Tho Port (Vietnam)
Internship, Report 2004.TL.6918, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

This report describes the investigation for container handling equipment at the port of Can Tho. The port is situated on the banks of one of the arms of the Mekong River in the north of the Mekong Delta. The Mekong Delta, slightly smaller than the Netherlands, lies in the south of Vietnam and is know as one of the biggest rice export areas of the world.

Can Tho Port is a former US Army port, which after 1975 is used for civil purposes. The total port area is 60,000 m2, this includes a container yard of 19,000 m2 and 5,400 m2 of warehouses. There are two wharfs, with a total length of 350 meter.
In 2002 Can Tho Port moved under the umbrella of Saigon port. This has not only streamlined the ports activities, but also improved the ports facilities. The port has good inland waterways connections with the whole delta, but transportation to the hinterland by road is still limited. This is caused by the limited maximum allowable loads for most of the bridges in the hinterland.

Can Tho Port is accessible for ships of 3,000 Deadweight Tonnage (DWT) at all states of tide and 5,000 DWT at high tide. But most of the vessels entering the port are the smaller country vessels. The last years there is a small increase in ship calls for the bigger vessels (with an exception for 2002) and also the DWT of the vessels entering the port has increased.
At the port are facilities for the handling of general cargo, bulk cargo and containers. In 2000 and 2001 there was a decrease of the cargo throughput, but since 2002 there is an increase again.

After a failed pilot project for container handling by shipping company Maersk, a second attempt for container handling at Can Tho Port was made in 1999. Since 1999 the number of containers handled has slightly increased. For the year 2004 the total amount of TEU handled is expected to be 16,000 and for the year 2010 these numbers are estimated around 50,000 TEU.
To be able to realize these targets the port is being restructured at the moment. Beside these restructuring some new specialized container handling equipment is needed.

The most important design criterion for container handling equipment is their handling capacity (moves per hour). The time a vessel is staying at the quay in the port must be minimal.

The mobility of the equipment is another important requirement. With the number of vessels entering the port for the next years a container crane would stand still at the quay for a large part of the time. When the equipment is mobile, it is possible to use the equipment at the container stacking area.
Besides these criteria the equipment must be able to handle ISO containers from 20 to 45 foot and have a total lifting capacity of 35 tonnes (a simple spreader included). The reach of the crane must be 12.5 meter from the quay, with a free height for the boom of 11 meter from the ground.

After a research it became clear there is no container handling equipment which can fulfil all the requirements at the moment. But an analysis of a special designed concept idea shows that, because of technical difficulties and impossibilities, buying a new design is not possible.

Therefore some research at existing equipment was done. This resulted in two alternatives. Both alternatives cannot fulfil all the requirements. But there is one alternative which satisfy the requirements for the port of Can Tho for the moment and for the coming years.
This alternative is the barge handler, this is a reach stacker which has the possibilities for a negative lift. This means it can lift containers which are lower than the surface on which the barge handler stands. The barge handler has a limited reach, but can still serve vessels with three rows of containers next to each other. For the Can Tho Port this is satisfactory for at least the next ten years.

The management of Can Tho Port can either decide to buy a new barge handler, or try to buy a second-hand barge handler, with the help of the manufacturer or used equipment companies.

With this special container handling equipment and with the restructuring of the port finished it must be possible for the Can Tho Port to handle the growing amount of containers for the next decades.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2005.01.18; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.