Full quay crane automation is the only way to reach the 6,000 quay-side moves per 24 hours wanted by big ship carriers, Netherlands-based consulting firm Dynamar has said.
In the recently issued report “Container Volumes and Terminal Capacity in North Europe II”, the firm said that a “robot” crane can easily handle the necessary faster acceleration and braking, unlike the traditional human crane-driver, as it does not suffer back or neck stress, fatigue or fading concentration.
According to the report, despite the consensus among major carriers that terminals should be able to handle 6,000 moves per day on an Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS), dockworkers tend to think that a maximum of 3,500 moves is more realistic.
Dynamar added that “APM Terminal II and RWG Rotterdam expect a production of 6,000 moves per day working the ULCS with 6 automated quay cranes, once their almost excessive degree of automation has been fine tuned.”
However, achieving 6,000 quay-side moves per 24 hours implies new requirements for the port.
The consulting firm said that the vast majority of the 11,000 teu generated by 6,000 moves per 24 hours have to be delivered to the consignee or by the shipper.
“Apart from expanding yard space and equipment,” the report added, “it will be required to start the delivery of inbound boxes while the vessel is discharging. A fast quay crane production puts tremendous pressure on the terminal’s storage capacity.”
According to the report, overcapacity experienced by the seventeen ports in the Gothenburg-Sines range, which is part of the Europe-Far East and Transatlantic trades, may seem to run counter to congestion.
However, it explained, “the main reason for this congestion phenomenon was and is that demand doesn’t come in nice regular volumes to be discharged and loaded every day.”
The firm added: “Even the largest ships remain prone to the elements, sometimes causing havoc to schedule integrity. Delayed ships may bunch up in their next North European port, which will work through further in their schedule.”