When Terminal Investment Ltd SA (TIL) was building a new port in Lomé, Togo, it turned to Paterson Simons to service the rubber-tyred gantry and ship to shore gantry cranes that would be vital to the terminal’s operations.

Paterson Simons is headquartered in the UK, but has been present in West Africa for more than 60 years. Paterson Simons was established in 1948, and focuses on the shipping, mining, oil and gas, and construction industries, working from its Brighton, England, base as well as through subsidiary companies in Ghana, Nigeria and Togo. The company’s roots go back even further: William Paterson and Henry Simons were instrumental in establishing the New Harbour in Singapore in 1861. Today, the company sells a range of Konecranes lifting equipment, alongside Manitowoc construction cranes, JCB Teletruks, and more.

One of the key reasons for its decades of success is its focus on improving levels of safety and training in the region, says managing director John Traynor. This includes training staff and operators, as well as bringing the standard of maintenance and inspection towards that of European markets.

"We provide full pre-delivery inspection and warranty of equipment, OEM parts, and we have a team of international engineers who train the local operators and engineers," says Traynor.

"We also provide annual and scheduled maintenance and lifting gear inspections, to OSHA/ANSI and LOLER/ BS standards. In West Africa there is really no meaningful legislation covering equipment, so we have worked with [US training provider] CICB to train operators to the OSHA standard."

This approach improves the value of the equipment to end users, says Traynor: "This has helped customers to believe that investing in new equipment is worthwhile — previously, when levels of training and safety in the region were not as developed, there was a risk that new equipment could be damaged or tip over due to misuse. Customers have realised that maintenance is expensive, and so want reliable equipment and well trained operators."

At Lomé, Paterson Simons, through its Togo subsidiary, will be on call 24 hours a day, providing all the inspection and maintenance services needed for the RTGs & STSs.

It is, Traynor says, the largest project the company is involved with: "The port is currently operating 12 Konecranes RTGs and six Chinese-manufactured shipto-

shore gantry cranes, installed at the greenfi eld site as stage one of the project. They are all electric RTGs that run off a rail, rather than conventional diesel systems. "The offi cial opening of the port is in early April, with capacity slowly being ramped up. The port will then continue to grow with further expansion stages."

Paterson Simons has been working with Konecranes in the region for more than a decade, and has seen the scale of lifting equipment develop as ports modernise. Traynor says, "We began selling Konecranes lift trucks in 2002, and have sold about 250-300 Konecranes units into West Africa over the last ten years. The port market has now changed as modern ports develop. Demand has evolved from fork lifts to reach stackers, which have now been replaced with RTGs and ship-to-shore gantry cranes. "We have been working directly with Konecranes Port Cranes for the last seven years. They have delivered about 80 RTGs into the region. Some have been delivered complete, and some have been shipped to be built on site. It depends on the amount of available space – it can be hard to fi nd space in working ports for assembly."

"Whilst RTGs in West Africa were not generally well known, as elsewhere in the world, land is not always freely available and so RTGs were required to improve the capacity of existing ports. "The Konecranes 16-wheel RTG cranes are suitable for the unlevel ground found in older yards due to the pinned joints, and are very manoeuvrable and reliable."

Paterson Simons has recently begun serving the overhead crane market, although this sector is relatively small for the company at the moment.

Traynor says, "It made sense for us to move into the sector as customers were seeing our Konecranes-branded service vehicles and requesting overhead cranes as well.

"We are in the early stages of growing the overhead cranes sector, but we are building the business on the service and maintenance we can offer, which the region is crying out for. Paterson Simons remains wholeheartedly committed to providing excellent support into the future."