September 6 - Jumbo Shipping's Fairlane transported a 420 tonne shiploader from China to the port of Palua, Venezuela.

Fairlane collected the cargo from the port of Dalian, China, with the shiploader being lifted onboard the vessel using Jumbo's fork lift method - two 24 m length beams, possessing a combined lifting capacity of up to 1,600 tonnes, which were collected from storage in Singapore on route to China.

A vessel with shallow draft capabilities was required since water depth at the port of loading would at no time exceed 5.6 m, and this did not present a problem, says Jumbo.

Having loaded the vessel, the voyage towards Palua began. Withcargo protruding on either side of the ship, the most direct route through the Panama Canal was not possible and an alternative route via the Cape of Good Hope had to be arranged instead.

Delivery of the shiploader was only possible within the Venezuelan rainy season (between June and September) because the rainfall during this period raises the water level sufficiently - to around 9 m - to allow access to the quayside.

The cargo then needed to be discharged over a pre-existing conveyor belt structure and the Fairlane's capacity to lift heavy loads at a considerable outreach helped to ensure that the discharge was successfully completed on the August 25.

Present at the unveiling of the shiploader, the Venezuelan minister of industries, Ricardo Menendez, declared that the installation of this equipment would have a major impact on port activity, improving performance and enabling the handling of up to 7.5 million tonnes of minerals per year - a 60 percent improvement on pre-existing levels.