Thursday, October 3, 2019

Innovative Container Top Handlers Set to Revolutionise Port Box Traffic

Zero Emission Machines Point the Way Forward
Shipping News Feature

US – Clean cargo handling operations at the Port of Los Angeles are taking a giant leap forward with the demonstration what it says are the world’s first zero-emissions top handlers. In celebration of California Clean Air Day on October 2nd, the Port showcased two pre-commercial battery-electric top handlers that will be tested at the Everport Container Terminal.

The battery-electric top handlers claim to be a world first, and were designed and built in the US by Taylor Machine Works, a heavy-duty equipment manufacturer. Also known as top picks, top handlers are off-road vehicles with an overhead boom for loading containers weighing up to 75,000 pounds onto trucks and trains, unloading them, and stacking them within terminals between pickups and deliveries.

Taylor’s zero-emissions top handlers run on a one-megawatt battery designed to operate for up to 18 hours between charges. Each top handler has a data logger for tracking hours of operation, charging frequency, energy usage and other performance indicators. Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka, said:

“[This] shows we are making good on our pledge to do the hard work of advancing commercially feasible solutions to meet our goal of transitioning all cargo handling equipment to zero emissions by 2030. We’re excited to power up these battery-electric top handlers and test them under the real-world conditions of a working container terminal.”

The data collection process also involves obtaining feedback from all demonstration participants, including the drivers and mechanics who will operate and maintain the top handlers. Workers will be able to provide valuable input on the manoeuvrability, noise level and safety of the equipment.

The top handlers will be tested over a 12-month period, expected to begin by the end of the year. The Port and its partners will also evaluate the functionality of the connections and systems for charging the top handlers.

The battery-electric top handlers are a key component of the Port’s $7.7 million Everport Advanced Cargo Handling Demonstration Project. The California Energy Commission (CEC) is supporting the large-scale zero-emissions technology project with a $4.5 million sustainability grant.

The Everport demonstration is one of 16 projects in which the Port is either the lead agency or a participant working with multiple partners to test near-zero emissions and zero-emissions engines, emissions control technology, and alternative fuelling and charging stations. In addition to the battery-electric top handlers, the projects include testing hybrid natural gas and fully battery-electric fuel cell heavy-duty trucks; battery-electric forklifts, yard tractors, and rubber-tired gantry cranes; and emissions control equipment on large ships and harbour craft.

Taylor has decades of experience working with the Port’s marine container terminal operators to meet their equipment needs. Since the 2006 launch of the Clean Air Action Plan, the Mississippi-based manufacturer has played a key role in the Port’s air quality progress by helping terminal operators transition their top handlers to the cleanest available in today’s market. Currently, more than 60% of the 213 top handlers in Port service meet Tier 4 off-road diesel engine standards.

Eliminating tailpipe emissions from cargo handling equipment is essential to achieving the Port’s larger goal of reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) from all port-related sources. Port targets call for reducing GHGs 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.