Tuesday, April 5, 2011

PD Ports Order New Cranes To Handle Container Freight Upturn

First UK Order for Konecranes RTG's as Port Group Push on with Environmental Agenda
Shipping News Feature

UK –FINLAND – PD Ports has placed an order with Konecranes for four RTG (rubber tired gantry) cranes, the first Konecranes handling equipment of this type to be delivered to the UK. PD Teesport’s container terminal capacity is currently being expanded from 235,000 TEU to 450,000 TEU as part of the group’s intention to expand port wide capacity as freight volumes grow to at least 650,000 TEU. The 16-wheel RTG’s have a lifting capacity of 50 tonnes and can stack 1-over-5 containers high and 6 plus truck lane wide.

The RTG cranes will be fitted with the Konecranes fuel saving system and have been designed to take future environmental requirements into account. They will be equipped ready for a cable reel power supply in the future, so that the diesel supply can then be disconnected from the cranes and replaced by a mains power supply. The cranes are also equipped with the latest DGPS-assisted technology for container yards including the Autosteering feature, which keeps the crane on a pre-programmed straight driving path, thus improving safety and increasing productivity. The RTG container positioning system is connected to the port’s terminal operating system, ensuring correct, real-time container positioning and maintaining accuracy in inventory.

Speaking of the deal, Thomas Gylling, who is responsible for port crane sales at Konecranes said:

“This is a breakthrough into the UK market for Konecranes RTG container handling cranes. PD Teesport is a dynamic and growth oriented port with high performance expectations from our equipment. With this delivery we aim to raise the RTG benchmark for the highest number of containers handled per hour in the UK.”

Mark Pearson, PD Ports Project Director commented:

“The container terminal investment here in Teesside will potentially involve some £29 million of total investment and will further improve performance and productivity for the port’s growing number of customers. We are striving to deliver world class operations, and this increasingly means using the best equipment and technology available. The Konecranes RTG’s will be a vital and welcome addition in ensuring our expanding terminal operates as safely, efficiently and cost-effectively as is possible.”

This latest purchase is symptomatic of PD Ports ongoing intent to develop the facilities at Teesport whilst being determined to be the most environmentally aware of the major port groups. Since becoming part of the Brookfield Asset Management Empire, PD have pursued their belief that the future for the region lies with renewable energy.

Speaking to the Handy Shipping Guide at Multimodal today, Paul Barker, Business Development Director at PD Ports was keen to stress that container handling was not the be all and end all of the company’s activities and confirmed that around 80% of his workload now revolved around the group’s involvement in renewable energy.

Mr Barker believes that the company has the right mix of services and sees the group’s ‘Portcentric’ policies as a Chinese menu, that is to say with assets in several logistics areas, company owned trucks, good rail access, feeder container services and not to mention two and a half million square feet of warehousing, clients have the option of cherry picking the services offered to suit themselves.

The acquisition by Brookfield seems to have reinvigorated PD’s sense of direction. Although the long awaited Northern Gateway project has been slowed by the economic miasma that has afflicted the whole industry, they are not alone in this and globally many port schemes have been similarly affected. Moreover as an asset owning port PD group say they are the only ones who also operate terminals in other peoples UK ports with Associated British Ports and Hutchison Ports as landlords in the Humber and at Felixstowe respectively, giving them a broader base than many of their competitors.

At a time when many are bemoaning the hesitant nature of the recovery, it looks as if PD, which has managed to secure important contracts such as Tesco, and Asda in recent times, as well as Taylors of Harrogate, who moved their warehousing for the first and only time in 150 years, are determined to ensure they make Teesport the destination of choice for customers in the North East.