6000 Quay-side Moves- is it a Practical Possibility?

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Very large carrier vessels that berth at Rotterdam port demand a quicker way to load and unload them.  They feel that by increasing the quay side moves to 6000 per 24 hours, containers could be filled to full volume in a single day.

Dynamar B.V. is a Transport and Shipping Information and Consultancy service provider for the Marine, Energy and Financial sectors.  They also provide container sector credit risk analysis and container shipping news and commentary.

In one of their analysis reports, Dynamar stated that to reach 6000 quay-side moves every 24 hours is possible only by full quay crane automation. In their report titled  “Container Volumes and Terminal Capacity in North Europe II” Dynamar stated that automated “robot” cranes can easily handle the huge load with no necessity for breaks unlike the traditional crane-lifts operated by humans that often need breaks as they encounter stress, fatigue or fading concentration.

Dockworkers involved with loading and unloading in Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS)however opine that a maximum of 3,500 moves is more realistic.

Dynamar went on to specify that the “APM Terminal II at the port can achieve the desired 6000 quay side moves with the installation of 6 fully automated quay cranes.  However, this would also mean other new requirements for the port.  Such as expanding yard space and equipment, a streamlined process that will start the delivery of inbound boxes while the vessel is discharging.  The storage capacity in the terminal would also have to be increased.”

The report also pointed out the problems faced at the ports in Western Europe (that handle Europe-Far East and Transatlantic trades) due to overcapacity; that would also have to be considered.  Since the daily volumes are not uniform and also considering contingency situations where a ship’s schedule is delayed or due to weather conditions may cause vessels to bunch up causing congestion and delays.

The port of Rotterdam’s annual throughput amounts to some 450 million tonnes.  It is the largest port in Europe.  Until 2002 it was the world’s busiest port. In 2012 Rotterdam was the world’s sixth-largest port in terms of annual cargo tonnage.  The port handles approximately 30,000 seagoing vessels and 110,000 inland vessels per year.

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