APM Terminals: Ports Must Prepare for Ultra-Large Vessels (China)
APM Terminals Crane & Engineering Services’ Managing Director, Halfdan Ross, discussed solutions to the challenges presented by the latest and future generation of Ultra-Large Container Vessels (ULCV) that confront port and terminal operation and design at the TOC Container Supply Chain Asia Conference in Hong Kong.
Addressing the topic “Terminal Planning & Operations: Driving New Performance Efficiencies”, Mr. Ross examined issues and solutions applicable to quay cranes intended to accommodate the larger vessels entering into service in the global container fleet, as well as the design or reinforcement of the quays themselves.
“While none have been ordered yet, studies have been completed on the feasibility of constructing containerships with a 22,000 TEU capacity” noted Mr. Ross, adding “so planning for crane and other infrastructure support to accommodate such vessels and their container volumes is a very necessary exercise for any major hub port”.
As of February 1st there were 153 containerships on order with capacities in excess of 10,000 TEUs, including 20 of the 18,000 TEU capacity EEE Class vessels ordered by Maersk Line, the first of which is expected for delivery next year. There are currently 121 vessels of 10,000 TEU capacity and above in service.
“There are issues of structural stiffness, weight, visibility and wind load which all must be taken into account with cranes of such dimensions, along with the question of upgrading existing equipment or installing new cranes entirely” explained Mr. Ross.
Improved engineering, camera-assisted and remote control of the crane operations were some of the solutions presented, though increased power requirements may also pose obstacles, particularly in emerging market areas with power generation or supply issues.
CES has been playing a major role in maintaining the readiness of the APM Terminals Global Port and Terminal Network for handling ULCVs such as the EEE Class vessels at key load centers and hub facilities.
“The point is that ultra-large vessels are already in service, and even larger vessels will follow, and so the time to prepare the necessary terminal and quay infrastructure is now” said Mr. Ross.
Dredging Today Staff, March 21, 2012; Image: APM Terminals