Thursday, February 12, 2015

Port Services and Logistics Group Invests in Giant Liebherr Mobile Harbour Cranes

Substantial Increase in Lifting Capacity Will Mean Faster Vessel Turnaround Times
Shipping News Feature

BELGIUM – FRANCE – Port services supplier Katoen Natie has increased its lifting capacity at the Port of Antwerp with an investment in three new Liebherr mobile harbour cranes; one LHM 550 and two LHM 600s. Additionally, the Belgian logistics giant has enforced its operations in Radicatel, France, with a new LHM 420. These cranes, which were manufactured by Liebherr Maritime Cranes in Rostock, Germany, will aim to increase Katoen Natie's competitiveness in break bulk cargo, including steel and forest products.

The LHM 600 model is the strongest mobile harbour crane available in the market and provides a maximum lifting capacity of 208 tonnes and an outreach of up to 58 metres. The first of such model for Katoen Natie was delivered fully assembled in November 2014, with the second crane becoming operational just one month later. Due to this investment in two LHM 600s, the company can now offer high-capacity tandem lifts to its customers and with the installation of Sycratronic®, one crane operator can safely handle heavy loads of up to 416 tonnes in tandem operation.

This significant investment also demonstrates Katoen Natie’s confidence in their operations in Antwerp, showing the company’s strong focus on the expansion of the market share for heavy lift and project cargoes. Joos Melis, Commercial Director of Katoen Natie, said:

“Thanks to our two new LHM 600s we have expanded our portfolio and are now capable of lifting loads as heavy as 416 tonnes, which is unique in Belgium. We are very optimistic that these state-of-the-art giants in combination with our long-term experience in safe and efficient cargo handling will attract new customers. Our existing customers will also highly benefit from this significant investment as we have speeded up our vessel turnaround times.”

In addition to both LHM 600s, Katoen Natie has invested in an LHM 550, which started operation in summer 2014. The LHM 550 is the most-in-demand Liebherr mobile harbour crane model and has proven its capabilities across the globe. The tasks of this new LHM 550 in Antwerp include highly efficient container and bulk handling.

For the technically minded, the new crane is equipped with Liebherr’s Pactronic® hybrid drive system. Awarded with the State Prize for Clean Technology in Austria, this cutting-edge hydraulic hybrid drive for cranes is the first to achieve increased handling performance with reduced fuel consumption. By adding an accumulator as a secondary energy source instead of a bigger or additional prime mover, Pactronic® is regenerating the reverse power while lowering the load. In addition, the surplus power of the primary energy source is also used for charging the accumulator.

The stored energy is transferred back to the system when the crane requires peak power during hoisting. In terms of turnover capacity, that means a plus of 30% compared to a conventional machine with equal power rating of the primary energy source. In addition, Pactronic® leads to a reduction of fuel/energy consumption (litre/ton) as well as CO2 and exhaust emissions in the range of 30% depending on the operation. The hybrid drive system is virtually maintenance free as it just needs visible inspection every 10 years. 100% recyclability as well as less noise exposure are additional eco-friendly benefits of the system.

Antwerp has been an important market for Liebherr mobile harbour cranes for more than 20 years, when in 1990, the first unit was delivered to Westerlund Corporation in Antwerp. Over the years, the population of Liebherr mobile harbour cranes has substantially grown in the Belgian port, and in 2009 Liebherr Maritime Cranes proudly opened a new office in Antwerp. Today there are eight service engineers based in Antwerp, to ensure quick response times and better service. Due to a notable market growth in recent years, Liebherr is optimistic that the demand for state-of-the-art mobile harbour cranes will further increase in the city.

In addition to their major investment in Belgium, Katoen Natie has opted for another Liebherr mobile harbour crane, type LHM 420, for their facilities in Radicatel at the northern coast of France. Delivered in 2014, the new all-purpose crane will be used for general cargo operation, container and bulk handling. The LHM 420 is Liebherr’s latest model, providing an outreach of 48 metres and a maximum lifting capacity of 124 tonnes. Katoen Natie’s very positive experience with an existing LHM 250 in Radicatel was a main reason why the logistics company opted for another LHM. This LHM 420 delivery underlines the positive trend of demand for Liebherr mobile harbour cranes in France.