DP World has completed assembly of the world’s first container high bay store system (HBS) at Jebel Ali Port, with the pilot phase of operation set to begin before September 2020.
The technology from BoxBay, a joint venture by DP World and German industrial engineering specialist SMS Group, could potentially dramatically change the way containers are handled in ports with smart innovation.
The patented HBS is an automated container handling system that stacks containers up to 11 storeys high, delivering more than three times the capacity of a conventional yard with enhanced performance.
This means that the footprint of terminals can be reduced by up to 70% according to the operator, and any container within the system can be accessed individually without moving any other.
Traditionally containers are stacked one on top of the other, which means many containers have to be shuffled to access containers lower down in the stacks.
This week, the final major component of the system, a truck crane, was assembled on site. The automated truck crane is used to lift containers on and off external trucks.
Containers for the landside operations move in and out of BoxBay on underground conveyor belts before being lifted to their slot in the rack by stacker cranes.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World, said: “This is a major milestone delivered in our exploration of new and innovative technologies that add value for our operations and customers.
“In these challenging times, we are bringing container HBS to the world’s supply chains, demonstrating our strengths as a global provider of smart logistics solutions. With speed, efficiency and digital fitness being key aspects of the port and terminal business, we intend to deliver ‘life inventory’ to our importers and we are confident BoxBay will play a significant role revolutionising container storage in the years ahead.”
Mathias Dobner, chairman and CEO of BoxBay, stated: “We are proud to be able to transfer this disruptive technology into operation very soon. With BoxBay more capacity can be managed faster on the same footprint. In addition, this technology with its CO2-neutral operation is trend-setting.”
The HBS proof of concept provides 792 container slots. while a full industrial HBS yard behind the two under construction berths of Jebel Ali Terminal 4 would be able to handle more than 3mcontainers per year.
The stacker cranes and truck handling cranes will be operated in full automation and the shuttle carrier will start testing with a driver at first during the pilot operation phase.
BoxBay is designed to be fully electrified and will be the only container yard that can be powered by solar panels on its roof.