Kiwis fly to Antwerp for crane training

25 August 2011

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Two harbour crane operators from New Zealand’s Port of Napier were among the first to try out elements of Gottwald Port Technology’s new three-stage harbour crane operator training course.

On arrival at the Port of Antwerp’s OCHA training centre, the drivers began two weeks of integrated training using advanced crane simulators before switching to the real thing for a third week and demonstrating what they had learned.

Gottwald says the course takes into account the latest developments in mobile harbour crane operation, and shows the importance they place on supporting clients through high-level service provision as well as machinery.

Although the operators from the Port of Napier only completed phases one and two, a third stage of the course is also available for more experienced crane operators.

Demag Cranes head of training, Carsten Wittmer, commented: “The potential of a crane can only be fully utilised if the operator has a perfect understanding of how to use the technology. The methodology and didactics of our integrated concept is based on the latest developments and utilises state-of-the-art training equipment.”

To enable this through the course, Wittmer took advantage of access to a GMK 260 E mobile harbour crane for the second stage of training. This ensures students have practical experience on cranes similar to the Gottwald cranes already at the Port of Napier.

Port of Napier senior crane operator, Peter van Veelen, was pleased with the results of the training. He said: “Our crane drivers learned as much in three weeks in Antwerp as they normally would in several months, without the need for us to make resources or staff available in New Zealand.”

This investment in the course gives Gottwald a significant commercial advantage, according to the firm, as it believes the ability to provide not just quality equipment but also well-trained personnel to operate it sets them apart from competitors in a climate where highly skilled workers are in short supply.

Hands-on: An operator getting to grips with Gottwald's GMK 260 E mobile harbour crane Hands-on: An operator getting to grips with Gottwald's GMK 260 E mobile harbour crane