DP World has formed a joint venture with industrial engineering specialists SMS Group to implement a high bay container storage system at Jebel Ali Terminal 4 before Dubai Expo 2020, which begins in October that year.
Instead of stacking containers directly on top of each other, which has been global standard practice for decades, the system places each container in an individual rack compartment.
The idea was originally developed by SMS Group subsidiary Amova for round the clock handling of metal coils that weigh as much as 50 tonnes each in racks as high as 50 m. Amova is the first company to transfer this technology to the port industry.
Containers are stored in an 11-story rack, creating 200% more capacity than a conventional container terminal according to the operator, or creating the same capacity in less than a third of the space.
Thanks to the rack’s design each container can be accessed without having to move another one, enabling 100% utilisation in a terminal yard, added a statement from DP World.
The system aims to bring considerable gains in speed, energy efficiency, better safety and a major reduction in costs.
Costs are further cut by the ability to shorten the time taken to load and unload mega-ships by as much as 30%.
Dr. Mathias Dobner, CEO of the joint venture, said: “This new container handling technology allows cities to use their expensive and sensitive land and waterfront areas more effectively.
“Our system will significantly increase the productivity of handling ships on the quay. This means that quay walls can be shortened by a third. This disruptive innovation will greatly improve the financial performance of container ports, and well as their overall appearance.”
The application for container terminals is a result of SMS Group’s ‘New Horizon’ strategy, in which SMS transfers technology from the metallurgical sector to other industries.