Associated British Ports (ABP) has invested £1.6 million in a new mobile harbour crane at the Port of Newport to help improve efficiency as the port handles increasing volumes of cargo.

The new machine, a Liebherr LHM 180 Mobile Harbour Crane, has a lifting capacity of 64 tonnes, an outreach of 35 metres and is on rubber tyres, meaning it can be easily moved around the port for use on all quays. The crane utilises the latest technology to provide a cutting-edge operating system which will result in greater efficiency and an improved service to customers of the port.

The Port of Newport, which is owned and operated by ABP, handled 1.85 million tonnes of cargo in 2014, an increase of more than 20% on the previous year. Significant growth was seen in 2014 in steel imports and exports, as well as the agricultural sector with the handling of bulk products such as fertiliser and animal feed also increasing.

Chris Green, ABP port manager for Cardiff and Newport, said: “The Port of Newport is a major port servicing both the Welsh and wider UK economies by handling cargo that supports the manufacturing, construction, steel, and agricultural sectors.

“We are committed to investing in Newport to accommodate increasing cargo volumes and we strive to continually improve operational efficiency through the use of modern high-tech plant and equipment. By their nature, ports are also constantly evolving to accommodate changing market trends so operational flexibility is crucial to their success. We are delighted to further develop our working relationship with Liebherr, with three of their harbour mobile cranes now in operation at Newport.”

The Liebherr LHM 180 Mobile Harbour Crane was produced in Liebherr’s Nenzing factory in Austria. It arrived in the UK via ABP’s Port of Hull before continuing its journey by road to the Port of Newport, and is now fully operational. It is the first crane in the UK to be fitted with Liebherr’s new SmartGrip bulk handling system which makes it one of the most advanced cranes in the country. This SmartGrip system allows for larger grabs to be fitted to the crane, which will give cargo handling a boost and provide an enhanced service to ABP’s customers.

Supporting 3,000 local jobs and contributing £186 million per annum to the Welsh economy, the Port of Newport is Wales’ leading general cargo port and the second largest conventional steel port in the UK. The Port of Newport consists of two docks, North and South, and encloses a water area of 125 acres and a land area of 685 acres. Its tenants span the steel, construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and power generation sectors.

Other key investments at the Port of Newport over the last 18 months include £2.76m on the redevelopment of Atlantic Shed, £3.3m on renewable energy projects, £1.7 million on a new rail bridge, £1.6 million on another new mobile harbour crane and £1.1 million on quay strengthening works.