Malta Freeport installed the first of its 40 Abacus base-hinged masts 25 years ago, the most recent in the spring of 2009. The masts are lowered on a regular basis to change floodlight lamps, but they have required no other maintenance in the 25 year period (besides a lick of paint here and there). This is despite a harsh sea environment and frequent ’Sahara’ rain storms, where sand from the African desert is carried in rain clouds and dumped on the island.
Steve Busuttil, Malta Freeport’s Projects Manager, won’t consider any other type of high mast for future developments, and comments "Abacus base-hinged masts are long lasting and durable, with very low maintenance. It was very easy to install additional transmitting equipment on top of the tower and sometimes mid way without any problems at all. Everything was straight forward." This also follows experience of a large number of Italian supplied winch masts which have caused major maintenance issues, requiring a crane for headframe access each time the floodlights are serviced. "During high winds we have lost several fibre glass domes from the tower’s top. At 2.5m in diameter and fitted 40m above ground, these domes are very dangerous"
Malta Freeport is one of the major commercial hubs of the Mediterranean, far outstripping what might be expected of such a small island located south of Sicily. As a result of its central location, historical importance and Freeport status, Malta Freeport handles in excess of 2.5million containers per year.
Effective management of its extensive container handling facility 24 hours per day is critical. Maintenance of its floodlighting systems is even more critical, so that continuous operations can be ensured with safety of personnel a key consideration.
Lighting for the port will be to a maintained illuminance of 20lux average; the container stacks are taken into account for shadowing in Abacus’ unique AutoCAD design software, to ensure that passageways are well lit to international standards.