Lifting on the dock of the bay7 March 2012
Mike Clark speaks to manufacturers of container and bulk handling equipment, and finds out how increasing traffic and changes to cargo flows are pushing demand for cranes around the world.
Observing that the share of developing countries’ GDP in overall global economic output has jumped from 17% in 1980 to over 28% by 2010, with the growth trend projected to continue, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says that improved efficiency and reduced costs of modern port operations have significantly contributed to the increase in global trade and overall economic output.
Releasing its annual Review of Maritime Transport report for 2011, it observed that developing countries’ share of global trade increased from approximately 30% to more than 40% between 2008 and 2010. Global seaborne trade, which represents 90% of world trade, reached 8.4bn tonnes in 2010, and is carried by a global fleet of 103,392 commercial vessels as of the first of this year.
Rick Pope, manager of terminal crane sales for North America with Cargotec USA, explains: “The anticipated 2014 opening of the wider lock of the Panama Canal has influenced the timing of new equipment enquiries, the essential dimensions of ship-to-shore cranes and has ushered in a paradigm shift for container handling in the US. For the last two years, Cargotec has seen an increase in demand on the East Coast for ship-toshore cranes with outreaches to accommodate vessel widths of 22-plus containers and lift heights above dock level of 44m. East Coast terminal operators who have recently purchased new cranes, or are purchasing them in the near future, are aiming to be the early entrants in the market to service thelarger vessels. Larger cranes, however, are only one part of the equation for attracting shipping lines.
"Larger quay cranes give the terminal operator the capability of working larger vessels; however, shipping lines require that their vessels spend less time at port, especially with the new fuel saving concept of slow steaming. Through slow steaming, the vessels realise considerable fuel savings, but their crossing time from the Far East to the US is longer. To maintain efficient route schedules, time in port must be kept to a minimum. Therefore, terminal operators are adopting new technologies to improve their container throughput during vessel operations. The key to improving ship-toshore crane productivity is to reduce the influence of container yard operations on ship-to-shore cranes.”
The UNCTAD review reports that world container port throughput increased by an estimated 13.3% to 531.4m TEUs (twentyfoot equivalent units) in 2010, after stumbling briefly in 2009, and Chinese mainland ports continued to increase their share of total world container port throughput to 24.2 per cent.
Headquartered in Shanghai (the world’s busiest container port), ZPMC is the largest heavy-duty equipment manufacturer in the world, delivering automated container systems, quayside cranes, Rail Mounted Gantries (RMGs), Rubber Tyred Gantries (RTGs) and stacker-reclaimers.
Elected one of China’s “Top Ten Innovative Enterprises in 2011”, the company has supplied its port equipment to key ports worldwide, including Felixstowe and, more recently, container terminals in Brazil, along with several ports in Australia where Patrick alone added four 65t cranes to its ZMPC products.
Confirming that 2011 had been a good year, with container business growing, ZPMC Mediterranean sales manager H Önder Türker says, “Recent deliveries in Turkey include Mersin, the main Turkish port for the Eastern Mediterranean region's industries and agriculture, managed by MIP—a joint venture between PSA Port of Singapore Authority International and Akfen Holdings. Mersin took delivery of two STS cranes.”
Kumport is another key terminal in Turkey, 22 miles west of Bosporus and able to handle Panamax and post- Panamax class vessels. “Here we delivered three STS cranes able to handle containers with a 20-row outreach, and took orders for four STS and eight RTG cranes, the former able to handle containers with 22 rows and the latter with the additional feature of being electrically powered, with great cost savings.”
Türker also stresses the importance of after-sales services. “Here, we chose Portunus Port Spares & Services, a proven market leader in the region for big gantry crane refurbishment jobs.”
Founded in 1989, China’s Sany Group now owns 21 overseas subsidiaries and factories in America, Germany, India and Brazil. As well as a large range of construction machinery, the company manufacture a range of port equipment, as Scott Zhen, Sany's marketing representative in the UK, explains, “Our reach stackers and empty container handlers are available for the UK's market and have been purchased by terminals in other countries, such as Italy’s very busy La Spezia facility.” Sany also manufactures RTG and RMG cranes, but these are currently are only available in China's domestic market.
Zhen continues, “The demand for this equipment is closely connected with the trend of global trade and, according to UK trade and investment officials I met in late 2011, to get the British economy on the right track, the government in the future will focus on the development of financing and international trade, so I foresee more international trade and ocean shipping business opportunities in the UK and the demand for this type of product should remain steady.”
Jost Daemmgen, sales manager for Konecranes, Port Cranes adds: “It still seems unclear how the services will operate, but everybody in the industry is excited about the Panama Canal widening and looking forward to the opening in 2014. We see an overall increase in requests for container handling equipment to handle larger ships and volumes on the US East Coast and Central America. As far as bulk handling is concerned, Kone also builds the grab unloaders, such as the heavy duty, high capacity ADB gantry Grab Unloader.
“GPA Savannah is our best reference I would say. All STS and RTGs are Konecranes. The former are diesel powered but will be retrofitted with Wampfler conductor bar systems for a field test and, if successful, other units might follow. At VIT in Virginia, all the ASCs (Automated Stacking Cranes) are Konecranes.
“Almost a century’s experience in crane building and on-going development, especially in automation (driver support functions, remote operated and automated cranes) sets us apart. For example, in ASC operation, one operator can safely operate several cranes, thus significantly increasing each driver’s performance.
“Konecranes ASCs maximise productivity and minimise operational costs and, because of their low emissions, they are also an environment-friendly solution. Unmanned ASCs are operated via a remote operator station, while an anti-collision system prevents collisions with other cranes and other obstacles. Since all activities around the ASC system are designed for full safety of personnel, it could well be said that Konecranes’ Automated Stacking Cranes are the safest way to handle containers.”
Automation is also a key factor for Cargotec, as Pope explains, “In Los Angeles, TraPac has elected to automate the container yard with Cargotec automatic stacking cranes as well as automating horizontal transport with Cargotec automatic straddle carriers. Cargotec is working closely with TraPac to optimise automated container handling by fully integrating TraPac’s proprietary TOS with Cargotec’s Terminal Logistics System (TLS). The terminal is set to begin automated operations in 2014.”
Regarding expanding markets, Cargotec’s crane sales manager Anders Berencsy comments, “Indonesia and India are two growing markets asking for increases in capacities. When it comes to both barge cranes and transfer terminals, our new four-wire rope heavy-duty bulkhandling MacGregor K50 crane will be useful.
India has also attracted the attention of Japan’s MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries), which recently established Anupam-MHI Industries, a joint venture with Anupam Industries to manufacture heavy-duty material handling equipment, including quayside container cranes, in India, with the aim of exploring India's fast-growing market, as well as targeting the Asian and MEA markets.
Plans call for the JV to establish two plants, respectively overseeing production and assembly of structural components, scheduled to commence operation in the first half of 2012. Each will have an annual production capacity of 60 units. The company will manufacture port loading and unloading equipment including container cranes and unloaders; material handling systems for bulk products such as coal; and steel plant logistics systems, including overhead travelling cranes.
Anupam, founded in 1973, is India's largest overhead crane builder. Combining its production bases and local marketing/service network with MHI's product development, manufacturing and engineering know-how the new company will dynamically develop the market in India. The heavy-duty material handling system and port cranes market is expected to grow significantly in Asian countries, including India, which views port facility improvement as one of the country's growth strategies, as well as in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
Other important seaborne commodities include coal and iron ore, flowing increasingly from Australia and Africa to China. The World Coal Association reports that overall, international trade in coal reached 1,083m tonnes in 2010 and Australia was the largest exporter. Newcastle Port (New South Wales) reports calendar year coal exports rose from 91.4m tonnes in 2008 to 114.1m in 2011.
Heli Malkavaara, communications director at Marine Cargotec Corporation, says: “As well as cargo cranes on board bulk carriers (including electrically operated models), and transloading systems, through its Siwertell brand, Cargotec supplies plant and terminal design, ship unloaders and loaders, mechanical and pneumatic conveying systems and storage solutions ensuring environment-friendly efficient cargo operations. Such set-ups have recently been provided in Morocco, India and Australia.
Joachim Dobler, responsible for the marketing of Liebherr mobile harbour cranes and reachstackers, says: “In recent years mobile harbour cranes became increasingly popular, not only as multipurpose equipment, but also as an alternative to specialised equipment, such as container cranes, as well as bulk gantry cranes and continuous ship unloaders for dedicated bulk handling. We delivered 85 in 2011 (in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America) and in March 2012 we shall install our hundredth mobile harbour crane in Africa.”
The biggest machine available in Liebherr’s mobile harbour crane product range is the LHM 600, with an outreach of 58m, allowing the handling of super post- Panamax vessels up to 19 container rows. Although these cranes are generally not used to load/unload trains, there are exceptions, such as the coal handling application in Bushy, Ukraine.
On the container front, Trevor O'Donoghue, of Liebherr Container Cranes’ sales department, says, “As well as orders for RMG’s for handling trains, we recently secured an order for two Panamax STS Cranes from Vladivostok’s JSC Commercial Port and have noticed an increased demand for cranes in the super post-Panamax to Megamax range.”
In 2011, Liebherr delivered its first cranes to Brazil and increased its products in use at DCT Gdansk, Poland, which now has five STS cranes and 14 RTGs. There are now also 16 STS cranes and 12 RTGs in Khorfakkan (UAE), one of the world’s most productive ports, plus ten STS and 20 RTGs at Gulf Stevedoring, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia).
O’Donoghue adds, “Our products were chosen for these ports because all our steel is manufactured in Western Europe and our cranes designed and manufactured in our facility in Ireland, with key innovations that keep us at the forefront of productivity, evolving over the years to perfectly adapt to the demanding port environment.”
Liebherr Container Cranes recently installed three RTG cranes in Termont Montreal, Canada. The RTGs, with 16- wheel configuration, bring the total of Liebherr RTG’s at the facility to eleven. Liebherr also previously supplied Termont with two STS cranes.
Gerry Bunyan, sales and marketing manager at Liebherr Container Cranes explained that this level of repeat business from a client is nothing new. “Since Liebherr started making container cranes in 1967, we’ve always had a large amount of repeat business and this has become particularly noticeable in recent years, with even newer clients placing repeat orders.”
He continues, “When it comes to choosing port equipment, our clients evaluate the cost of a crane over its entire lifetime. They already have first-hand experience with the low running and maintenance cost of our cranes and have witnessed the levels of productivity and efficiencies that they bring to ports, which are then in a position to service clients quicker and more cost effectively, which is what we’re all aiming for.”
The world's largest mobile material handling machine is the 180t Sennebogen 880 Mobile currently used at Shoreham Port in the UK, an impressive unit with a 26m range and maximum payload of 30t.
Markus Bauer, with the German manufacturer’s international marketing department, says: “The new Sennebogen 880 Mobile was delivered with various attachments including a quick coupling system which enables fast removal and fitting. The range of attachments includes 6.8m3 clamshell grab (enabling different bulk materials to be handled), 20t hook, 30t hook and 10m3
biomass grab. The Multi-tool can be changed quickly and easily between the attachments, ensuring great versatility.
The machine can also attach a semi-automatic timber spreader and 15t capacity spreader beam. In combination with the excellent mobility of the 880 machine at Shoreham Port it is an extremely flexible solution to effectively load and unload ships with noticeably shorter turnaround times. Critical to the acquisition was the fact that Sennebogen and Shoreham Port tailored the specification to suit customers’ needs.”
Everything under control
ABB is a system integrator which provides electrical drives and control packages to crane builders and owners. Laura M Patrick, media relations manager with ABB’s process automation division says: “ABB provides a comprehensive supply for electrification and automation of complete terminals for coal and iron ore, including stockyard equipment and conveyor systems.”
Julia Cai, responsible for PR and media relations of ABB Business Unit Marine and Cranes, adds, “We have seen demands for crane equipment on the US East Coast concerning port extensions in preparation for larger ships in Panama, Miami, Jacksonville, Newark, and New York. Our products include high-end automation for STS cranes and automatic stacking cranes in container terminals. For bulk transport by sea and in ports, we supply equipment for grab ship unloaders, ship loaders, and stackers/reclaimers for stockpile yards.
Coming to grips with loads
Dick van Soest, sales director with Dutch spreader manufacturer Stinis, says: “With the opening of the widened Panama Canal, the size of container vessels is increasing, therefore we are of the opinion that there will be a big market in the USA—after the successful introduction in Europe two years ago—for our Split- Headblock that moves two 40ft containers simultaneously. This will also affect operation on the ground, where more containers have to be moved faster, so shuttle straddle carriers with Long-Twin spreaders will also increase.”
The very simple and robust design ensures smooth operation for the expandable Twin-Lift part under ship-toshore cranes, RMGs, RTGs, straddle carriers and mobile harbour cranes.
Stinis reports an excellent 2011, with orders from new customers like ADPC at Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi for 33 ship-toshore Long-Twin and straddle carrier Long-Twin spreaders. The new Wilhelmshaven Container Terminal has also chosen Long-Twin ship-to-shore spreaders and the railway terminal there will be equipped with full electric spreaders.
Van Soest adds, “The spreaders for Khalifa and Wilhelmshaven are prepared for operation under the Stinis Split- Headblock that handles two forty-foot containers simultaneously.”
Other new Stinis customers are located in Los Angeles, Barcelona and Durban, and deliveries of another 48 spreaders began in November 2011 to one of Stinis’ largest customers, Rotterdam’s ECT Delta Terminal. Existing customers that have expanded their spreader fleet include HHLA (11 units) and Eurogate in Hamburg (26 units).
“Stinis has almost 25 years’ experience with spreaders for automatic stacking cranes,” states van Soest, “as the first spreader for this type of crane was delivered in 1988.”
With port logistics efficiency focusing for many years on larger ships, larger cranes and spreaders able to handle two or more containers in one lift, one area lacking development has been the handling of oversized goods such as flatracks and open-top containers, which are now on the rise. Even large ports have worked with chains or old manual orsemi-automatic overheight frames, causing costly delays and problems, as oversized goods are often loaded last on to container ships.
Joakim Carlsson, port equipment product manager with Sweden’s Timars says, “We offer two over-height spreaders for this type of work, the semi-automatic OH and the fully automatic OHA, which fits all terminal equipment without any manual operation. In recent years, more and more operators have become aware of this fully-automatic frame, which ensures increased efficiency, more flexibility and safer, more reliable handling of oversized goods. The latest version (the fifth) is highly appreciated by users for its leadingedge reliability and minimum downtime for service and maintenance.”
Other Timars products include the Lashing Cage, a personal working cage, and the Centrelizer, for efficient handling of containers whose point of gravity is offcentre. A key end user’s point of view is expressed by DP World from its Dubai HQ. The global marine terminal operator recently announced another record year for container handling, with over 54.7m TEU (twenty-foot equivalent container units) handled across its global portfolio in 2011, an increase of 10% against the prior year. DP World operates more than 60 terminals across six continents, with container handling generating around 80% of its revenue. In addition, the company currently has 11 new developments and major expansions under way in ten countries.
Dana Khalaf, senior officer for corporate communications at DP World, explains that DP World does not currently operate container ports on the US East Coast. “However, we do operate in the Caribbean and the East Coast of South America. For new-build terminals, we put in place quay cranes with sufficient outreach to cover the influx of the everincreasing wide-body container vessels. The new 55m-wide Panama locks will allow vessel dimensions with a length of 366m, beam of 49 and draft of 15.2. However, it is often not only the outreach that limits quay cranes, but we see an increase in crane height under spreader as another constraint to be dealt with, especially when a trade service lane is used by light Chinese commodities and the vessels are high up in the water.
“In Adelaide, we are working with Ram spreaders, designed, manufactured, delivered and operated special bulk handling/rotating spreaders that can discharge road trucks with containerised bulk directly into vessels. This was a first in the world, but we’re continuously looking at innovative ways to meet customers’ demands.”