Optimising handling procedures
The Société Tunisienne de Transit d’Agences et de Transports (STTAT) is convinced that the country will experience a return to an earlier trend towards more dynamic economic behaviour once the new national constitution has been accepted and a government made up of technocrats runs the North African state on an interim basis. The corporation did not let any doubt arise about the fact that it has tackled its activities in the transition period with great élan.
STTAT’s general manager stated that the group had made great use of the year 2013 to further develop and greatly consolidate its ability to compete in its affreightment activities. It implemented more than 50 measures in the fields of bulk freight, breakbulk cargo and heavylift operations, in particular, as well as in the extraordinarily large consignments segment.
The fact is that the establishment of industrial enterprises, as well as the appearance of new companies that specialise in metal construction, in the region in and around Sfax has created new goods flows. General manager Ben Abdallah told the ITJ that «we specialise in organising transport industry jobs to haul freight from A to B. We can handle pressure containers, storage reservoirs, wind energy towers and the like.» The company also offers pre-forwarding activities, port handling operations and maritime transportation, right through to the delivery of the equipment concerned at the final destination.
Handling the world’s longest flagpole
«The immense experience gathered by our employees over the years, as well as their great professionalism, is incredibly helpful as well as motivating. The great value of our network of foreign correspondents has been confirmed by the operations we carry out in two logistics parks, one of them located in the port of Sfax and covering 28,000 sqm, and the other one in the port of Sousse and covering an area of 8,500 sqm. We warehouse goods and stuff and strip containers as well as other goods in transit in these facilities,» Ben Abdallah elaborated.
Earlier this year STTAT’s Sfax agency loaded the longest flagpole in the world (170 m long and weighing 452 t) onto a ship in Sfax, from where it was shipped to Jeddah. The company was also the shipping agency entrusted with the logistics aspects and loading of the first Tunisian oil-drilling platform. The latter cargo was divided into two consignments, one weighing 220 t and the other one 150 t, for loading onto two vessels. The consignments were delivered to Aquaterra Energy UK.
«What customers appreciate very much is STTAT’s will to take all the necessary steps and to mobilise all the resources required in order to promote their freight transportation activities. We also recruit and train the experts that are needed, support firms participating in national and international conferences and provide services through our broad network of correspondents.»
GMC in Sousse
STTAT’s stevedoring subsidiary Groupement des Manutentionnaires du Centre (GMC) handled 281 ships in 2013, loading or unloading about 850,000 t of goods. 64% thereof consisted of breakbulk commodities (iron, timber, etc.) and 36% of bulk cargo (exporting 110,000 t of sand and pomace). Over and above this, 193,000 t or 15,500 teu of containerised goods were also handled. These were carried mainly by the Turkish line Arkas.
GMC continues to invest substantial sums in new equipment, Ben Abdallah said. It has three conveyor belts, with a total loading capacity of 300 to 1,000 t per hour. They handle bulk cargo for export (salt, sand and olive pomace). The company also has two reachstackers as well as a forklift truck with a 42 t spreader.
At the commercial port of Sfax, the stevedoring company Groupement des Manutentionnaires de Sfax (GMS) handled a total of 353 ships with an overall tonnage of 1.35 million t in 2013. Since it was founded GMS has specialised in the handling of barges belonging to oil companies. «This niche market strategy enables us to focus our efforts on these specific customers.» In order to fully meet the quality, health and safety at work and environmental protection standards, GMS has introduced the QHSE management system.
«Applying these quality standards meets the expectations of our customers and partners, especially British Gas,» the general manager explained. GMS operates four reachstackers and a 450 t crane, which it used to load and unload around 340,000 teu in 2013, primarily from ships belonging to Denmark’s Maersk Line.
STTAT’s Tarros Tunisie, general agent for Tarros
Ben Abdallah added that Tarros Tunisie, the general agent for the enterprise Tarros, one of the leading Italian container shipping companies in the Mediterranean Sea, has reported satisfactory volume developments in the national ports of Sousse and Sfax. «We also managed to boost traffic with our principal Cosco, thanks to our strong ability to compete in the freight sector and our favourable transit times,» Ben Abdallah added. Tarros Tunisie has simultaneously established a good position in its role as a provider of consignment and assistance services for military vessels.
The general manager closed with the confirmation that «ever since STTAT was founded in 1961, we’ve adhered strictly to our code of professional conduct, and have been guided by the principles of honesty and loyalty. This has enabled the continued existence and success of the group.»