By Godwin Oritse
APM Terminals Apapa Limited has installed a new modern, state-of-the-art Crane Simulator with a view to modernizing, up grading and making the Apapa container terminal more efficient.
The new simulator, the first of its kind in the entire West and Central African sub-region, was installed at a cost of N52.5 million to train crane operators on the usage of sophisticated terminal equipment such as the Ship to Shore (STS) and Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) Cranes are inÂ use at the terminal.
In a statement, the managing director of the terminal Mr Martin Dirks said that most of the cranes, acquired by APM Terminals in 2007 and 2008, are new to the Nigerian environment and require intense and adequate training of operators to impact the right skills, optimize usage and ensure safety of operation.
â€œThe simulator at our terminal is a training device specifically designed and built for our environment. It duplicates artificially the conditions likely to be encountered during operation on any of the cranes in use at the terminalâ€, Dirks said after inspecting and â€˜test-driving a craneâ€™ at the simulator center.
The terminal boss also said that the simulator center will serve as a training hub for other APM Terminals facilities and joint venture operations in the sub-region.
The crane simulator, installed by Indiaâ€™s ARI Simulation Company, replicates the real state of affairs and processes at the Apapa Container Terminal.
Speaking in similar vein,Â Doug Smith, Director, Terminal Operations of APM Terminals said that every possible scenario and condition that might occur at the terminal has been replicated in the simulator; conditions such as rainfall, thunderstorm, darkness and even emergency alert; all these and several other key characteristics and conditions that could occur in the course of normal operation at the terminal are replicated.
Smith also disclosed that only key and competent crane operators will have the opportunity of undergoing training using the simulator. He said that the new equipment eliminates the need to send crane operators abroad for training.
â€œWith this stimulator, our crane operators will spend time learning valuable lessons in a â€œsafeâ€ virtual environment. Often the convenience of a simulator is to permit mistakes during training since we operate a safety-critical system. It is prohibitively expensive and simply too dangerous to allow trainees to use the real equipment on the terminalâ€, he added.
APM Terminals Apapa had, in the past, sent its workers for training at sister port facilities in Salala, Oman and in India.