On Wednesday, APM Terminals announced that after consulting with stakeholders, it has decided to increase its planned investments at Port Elizabeth to $200 million, up from a previously released figure of $70 million.
The new amount reflects the purchase of four brand new gantry cranes designed to handle ultra-large container vessels, which are expected to begin calling at the port once the Bayonne Bridge heightening project is complete. The bridge will be raised to a height of 215 feet, removing the port’s 150-foot air draft restriction. When combined with the completion of New York’s long-running harbor deepening project, the raised bridge will allow the latest generation of box ships to enter Newark Bay.
In addition to new cranes for serving these modern vessels, APM will add an expanded gate complex to speed up cargo flow and will upgrade its container handling equipment on the pier. All told, the investments are expected to increase the terminal's capacity by 800,000 TEU per year.
“Our goal is to make APM Terminals Port Elizabeth safer, easier to use and faster for our trucker community, more productive for our shipping line clients and more reliable for our clients’ supply chains," said Wim Lagaay, president of APM Terminals North America. "These terminal enhancements would not be possible without the essential work the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has done to deepen the harbor and heighten the Bayonne Bridge to ensure future success and growth of the port."
APM Terminals is a division of Maersk Group, and it is an important profit center for the global maritime conglomerate. APM reported earnings of $438 million for 2016, lower than the previous year due to weakened performance at its Latin American, northwest Europe and African facilities; however, its profitability far exceeded that of Maersk Group as a whole, which posted a $1.9 billion full-year loss due to the severe business conditions in liner shipping and offshore services.