New equipment at Portsmouth shipping port after dad-of-one's death

Memorial to Mieczyslaw Siwak, known at Mitch, at MMD Shipping Services, Flathouse Quay, Portsmouth.        Picture: Chris Moorhouse           (240119-17)
Memorial to Mieczyslaw Siwak, known at Mitch, at MMD Shipping Services, Flathouse Quay, Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (240119-17)
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NEW equipment has arrived at a shipping port as part of a safety promise after an employee died two years ago.

Mieczyslaw Siwak, better known as Mitch, died at the MMD shipping port in Portsmouth, now known as Portico, after being crushed between two freight containers on August 25, 2017. 

Portico, Portsmouths international cargo terminal, has got of three new Kalmar DRG450-65S6X reach-stackers

Portico, Portsmouths international cargo terminal, has got of three new Kalmar DRG450-65S6X reach-stackers

The firm, owned by Portsmouth City Council, vowed to improve safety procedures and get new equipment, including reach stackers which moved the containers, during the inquest this year. 

At the time the Health and Safety Executive raised concerns about the driver’s view being ‘completely obscured’ when carrying a container at a low height to drop off a container on the ground floor, as well as drivers not using radios enough to communicate with people on the ground which the jury concluded were some of the reasons for the death of Mitch, who was originally from Poland but living in Bognor Regis.

The 34-year-old was remembered as a ‘kind man who was always smiling’ and a permanent memorial was set up outside the port in Flathouse Quay. 

READ MORE: MMD Shipping workers tell inquest jury how they tried to save friend crushed to death

The three new Kalmar reach-stackers are able to monitor driving styles, shocks and pressure points that can slow down the operation.

The Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation into the case after the death.

Portico operations director Steve Williams said: ‘We’re delighted to take delivery of these three new reach stackers, which will replace outdated equipment and increase the efficiency of operations in the container park. The transformation of Portico into a modern, flexible international cargo facility is well underway and I’m looking forward to delivering the rest of our exciting development plans over the next 18 months.’

READ MORE: Family of Portsmouth port worker crushed to death say they will never get the answers they want

 Alex Beddow from Kalmar said: ‘Safety, technology, emissions and economy were key points that Portico wanted to improve, with our R&D team we worked on a package that would meet all of their requirements.’

A £15m loan agreement with owners Portsmouth City Council has kick-started a development of the port which includes significant restructuring of the site layout, the introduction of automation to manage hauliers effectively and improved quayside space for handling cargo.