Monday, June 30, 2014

Largest European Deep Water Port Plans to Remain So with Container and Bulk Cargo Project

More Box Handling Equipment Ordered as Rivals Improve Environmental Credentials
Shipping News Feature

NETHERLANDS – AUSTRIA – SWEDEN – UK – CHINA – Whilst much is spoken about the expansion of deep water facilities for container vessels and bulk carriers around the world as each class of cargo ship seems to be superceded by the next, Panamax by Neopanamax and Super Panamax, box carrier designers rapidly running out of adjectives after Ultra Large etc., one European port still reigns supreme over the others and goes about its business, developing as its sees fit and currently on a grand scale to manage the shipping behemoths of the future.

To the west of Rotterdam’s main port area, the Maasvlakte 2 scheme is in its sixth year of development, the project is designed to keep Rotterdam in its primary position as the gateway to Europe for ocean carried freight, and nobody of course does land reclamation like the Dutch. Around 2,000 hectares of new ground is being created, half for infrastructure, including 20 metre deep docks, and the rest for industrial use.

With an overall port size of 12,500 hectares the container handling capacity will effectively double whilst, earlier this month the development saw the first commercial cargo handled as oil products were transhipped between two vessels. Now box handler APM Terminals has ordered 22 more Automated Rail-Mounted Gantry Cranes (ARMGs) manufactured by Austrian-based crane manufacturer Hans Kuenz in combination with ABB of Sweden, bringing the total up to 48 such units for Phase I of the company’s new 2.7 TEU million annual capacity, deep-water terminal which is due to begin operations in November 2014. The new cranes will arrive in batches from March 2015 to mid-2016 and will join the 26 similar units ordered in 2012 which have been arriving over the past 15 months.

The Hutchison owned Port of Felixstowe meanwhile has gone for improved environmental credentials and upgraded operational efficiency with the introduction of its first electric-powered Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs). Four diesel units originally from ZPMC in Shanghai, have been converted by Kalmar to electric primary drive in what is being claimed as the first such project of its kind in Western Europe. Commenting on the initiative, Paul Davey, Head of Corporate Affairs, Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, said:

"The Port of Felixstowe is fully committed to providing the highest levels of operational performance whilst at the same time reducing the impact of its operations on the environment. This pilot project to electrify four RTGs will help us achieve both objectives. The greener machines are the latest in a programme of measures which has seen carbon emissions at the port cut by 12% since 2007, keeping us on course to achieving a target reduction of 30% by 2017."

Photo: Doing what they do best – a vessel pumps sand out the very beginning of the process to reclaim land required for the Maasvlakte 2 project.