Friday, August 19, 2011

New Container Handling Investment Will Increase Freight Throughput

PD Ports Install New Gantry Cranes
Shipping News Feature

UK – Despite a mood of austerity in many sectors of the freight and logistics market there are still signs of investment if one casts an eye about. Although development of the Northern Gateway expansion scheme has probably not moved at the pace it would have wished two years ago PD Ports has continued to increase trade in Teesport as a short search of our news archive will reveal. Today the company has taken delivery of four new RTG (rubber-tyred gantry) cranes to increase the throughput of containers at the port.

Purchase of the Konecranes built units represent the biggest single equipment investment in the port since the container terminal opened in 2003 and PD say they are a ‘key component’ in the current £16.7million expansion of the Teesport container terminals. The Konecranes RTG’s, manufactured in Finland and Poland for a total investment of around £5 million, are the first of their type to be supplied by Konecranes in the UK and will allow PD Ports to significantly improve handling capacity on the Teesport Container Terminal as volumes continue to grow.

Mark Pearson, PD Ports Project Director, says the RTG’s should be in full operation by the end of September after the crane operators have undergone a full training programme and he is suitably enthusiastic about the performance the new equipment offers:

“By switching from the current handling system using reachstackers to these RTGs we can store many more boxes on the same area, due to their ability to create higher, wider container stacks,” says. They also improve the number of containers handled per hour.”

Teesport’s container terminals saw volumes increase by 45% in 2010 and capacity is currently being expanded from 235,000 to 450,000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units)and the company’s overall strategy is to expand port wide capacity to at least 650,000 TEU so further improving employment security for the current 500+ Teesport employees, and potentially creating new opportunities for additional employment, especially important at a time when the local and national economies remain under serious pressure to create jobs.

The RTGs, which were purchased after a rigorous selection process, are fitted with the latest Konecranes fuel saving system and have been designed to take future environmental requirements into account, including switching from diesel to electric power. The 16-wheel gantry’s each have a lifting capacity of 50 tonnes and can stack 1-over-5 containers high and 6 plus truck lanes wide.

The cranes are equipped with the latest GPS-assisted technology for container yards which includes the autosteering feature that keeps the crane on a pre-programmed straight driving path, thus improving safety and increasing productivity. The RTG container positioning system is also connected to the port’s terminal operating system, ensuring correct, real-time container positioning and maintaining accuracy in inventory.