Unabhängige Zeitung zu Wirtschaft und Verkehrspolitik
CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE STUDI CONTAINERS
ANNO XXXVIII - Numero MARZO 2020
TRANSPORT AND ENVIRONMENT
TARGETING ZERO-CARBON FOOTPRINTS
"How are ports helping to reduce emission levels to zero
in the operation of container handling? John Bensalhia reports on
modern day design and technology use"
As a result of environmentally friendly initiatives and
investments, ports around the world are targeting clean,
emission-free operations. A notable example is APM Terminals
Gothenburg, which has cut the rate of emissions by 90%. The
company's Green Gothenburg Gateway concept creates renewable energy,
enabling all customers to receive fossil-free transport through the
terminal at no extra cost.
APM Terminals Gothenburg has also announced that it will be
making its container handling operations fossil-free. "All
container handling equipment runs on HVO 100, all cranes and gates
run on renewable electricity and biogas is used for heating,"
says Cajsa Levén, marketing communication coordinator. "These
actions reduce APM Terminals' climate footprint in Gothenburg by
approximately 90%. All customers are also offered fully
climate-neutral cargo handling through APM Terminals' Low Carbon
Logistics programme. The programme is a way to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions by investing in our own supply chain. This strengthens our
contribution to the Swedish business sector's competitiveness and
Another initiative introduced by APM Terminals Gothenburg is an
increase in the container terminal's capacity. "A high
container capacity is key to reducing climate impact," explains
Ms Levén. "Vessels that can maintain normal speed
minimise climate impact. The fast handling times at our terminal
help vessels keep their timetables, without needing to run at extra
high speeds and consume more fuel."
A vessel that needs to travel 10% faster to recoup lost time
increases its fuel consumption (hence its emissions) by 20%. "APM
Terminals in Gothenburg therefore ensures that vessels that arrive
late still depart on time," says Ms Levén. "The
most recent survey showed that 22% of vessels arrive later than
scheduled; nevertheless, 97% leave the terminal within (or earlier
than) the stipulated time. This is possible thanks to the
capacity-enhancing investments and changes made by APM Terminals."
Another important climate measure is to move freight transport
from truck to train. APM Terminals Gothenburg is doubling rail
volumes by 2022. Transporting goods by train not only offers
economic advantages, but also reduces emissions by up to 98%
compared to road transport.
From a zero-emission equipment angle, the Port of Valencia's
H2Ports project concentrates on testing heavy-duty, hydrogen fuel
cell-powered port equipment. Two cargo terminals at the port (MSC
Terminal Valencia and Valencia Terminal Europe) will trial prototype
equipment of a container handling reach stacker and a terminal tug
master for ro-ro operations.
Equipment Manufacturers Helping Ports?
Manufacturers of container handling equipment are helping ports
achieve their goal. Arto Keskinen, SVP Kalmar Automation Solutions,
says that Kalmar's credentials in developing electrically powered
equipment go back into the 1970s, and since then, the company has
extended its offering with diesel-electric, hybrid and
electrically-powered machines to help customers improve their
productivity and reduce air emissions, noise and fuel consumption of
"Kalmar's rail-mounted STS and yard crane offering has been
electrically powered for decades, and we introduced the world's
first mains-powered RTG in 2002. Today, over 50% of Kalmar cargo
handling equipment is already available with electric power
sources," Mr Keskinen outlines.
In December 2015, Kalmar introduced a fast-charging solution for
electric-powered shuttle and straddle carriers that was extended to
hybrid machines in June 2016. The Kalmar FastCharge solution is
based on the same technology used in electric buses. "The
charging station with a pantograph direct current charging system is
located flexibly on the working route of the machines in the
terminal," explains Mr Keskinen.
"The machine has modern Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries
which enable fast charging to be used. Charging happens during the
idle time in the machine working cycle when it has stopped to wait
for the container. Typical charging time in operation is 30 to 180
seconds, and with the maximum charging power of 600kW, full charge
can be achieved in a few minutes."
Electrification is one of the main trends in clean container
handling. In May 2018, Kalmar announced its commitment to reduce
emissions in cargo and material handling operations by fostering
eco-efficient technologies. According to the commitment, Kalmar's
full offering will be available as electrically powered versions by
"In line with our eco-efficiency target, we introduced the
Kalmar Ottawa Electric Terminal Tractor to the Americas market in
May 2018," says Lasse Eriksson, VP Technology, Kalmar. "The
electric terminal tractor with a fully electric powertrain that
produces zero emissions at source is designed for trailer-handling
operations in dispersed warehouses, container terminals and other
applications where short-distance highway travel is required."
Kalmar continued on its electrification journey by introducing a
fully electric version of the Kalmar Empty Container Handler. "The
machine is designed to help customers reduce overall fuel costs and
comply with increasingly strict airborne and noise emissions
standards without compromising on performance," explains Mr
As well as being environmentally sound, electrification and
automation offer other significant advantages, such as for terminals
operating Rubber-Tyred Gantry (RTG) cranes. "Hybrid, cable reel
and busbar-based systems each have their own unique strengths,"
says Mr Keskinen. "The choice of the crane electrification
solution needs to be considered carefully while taking into account
the automation level and development roadmap of the entire
How Automation Can Help
Automation can benefit ports in a number of ways, with respect
to costs, reduced operational time (saving the problem of operators
moving to and from the cranes) and improved productivity of crane
operators (the result of one operator controlling multiple RTGs
In 2018, Konecranes Lift Trucks introduced the Powered by
Ecolifting concept to the market. This includes all the technical
features developed on Konecranes' lift trucks, granting a reduction
in fuel consumption and noise level, which consequently contributes
to issue less emissions in the air (carbon and noise emissions).
"With our Ecolifting solutions you can both save money and
make better choices for the environment by using less fossil fuels
without compromising on performance," says Patrik Lundbäck,
director and head of sales & distribution, BU Lift Trucks,
"The solutions that have been implemented are mainly three:
Power Drive; Flow Drive; and Hybrid Drive, but there are others in
the pipeline," he confirms.
Taking the first of these solutions, Mr Lundbäck says that
the Power Drive offers an affordable and convenient method of
reducing emissions and costs. "With Power Drive at first, it is
possible to take important steps in emission reduction, without
major changes to the infrastructure or training of the staff. It is
the most cost-efficient way to start reducing emissions and fuel
expenses, thanks to a very short payback time. It saves on fuel and
costs, reducing consumption by up to 15%."
With a relatively small extra investment, Flow Drive has a drive
line that offers up to 25% in reduction, combined with an improved
working environment for the drivers.
"With a minimal financial investment, this solution brings
concrete benefits to everyday operations," Mr Lundbäck
explains. "A precise, smooth ride, reduced noise and less cabin
vibration and a significant increase in overall productivity."
The third solution, Hybrid Drive, as Mr Lundbäck comments,
is the one with a bigger impact in customer operations. "The
difference with the diesel engine driven trucks is higher due to the
fully electric propulsion and lifting. Leading the next generation
of sustainable lift trucks, Hybrid Drive cuts down the fuel
consumption up to 40%, providing benefits to business, users,
processes and the environment. The evolution of the world's first
Hybrid Reach stacker grants benefits in terms of reduced emissions
and cost efficiency, which are much more significant than the first
two options, being also the bigger investment."
Cost Reduction Benefits
Considering that environmentally friendly container handling
products reduce fuel and noise consumption, one of the additional
benefits is cost reduction.
"Less quantity of fuel will be used and therefore, purchase
quantities will be reduced, turning into a main cost decrease per
running hour," says Mr Lundbäck, adding, "With our
Ecolifting solutions, you can both save money and make better
choices for the environment by using less fossil fuels without
compromising on performance."
The combination of factors such as technological inroads,
emission-free equipment/machinery and a greater
awareness/understanding of keeping the environment clean is pushing
clean container handling further towards zero.
"Equipment with completely zero emissions will be a
certainty in the future, for sure," says Mr Lundbäck. "We
will see a trend in which the terminals will turn into fully
Mr Bernardo agrees that more ports are moving towards
all-electric container terminals. "This is being studied in
tandem with moving towards partial or full automation of cargo
terminals - since the capital investment needed for both can be
accomplished at the same time. More federal and state funding will
be needed to help provide incentives so that container ports move
toward electric equipment. Also, longshore labour may be opposed to
automation because it will reduce jobs for dock workers."
Mr Eriksson adds a further comment here relating to costs. "It
is important to note that electrification is not only about
improving your green credentials, it can also mean a decrease in
operational costs. Eco-efficiency is the future of cargo and
material handling, with new and more advanced technologies helping
us to do more with less."
The executive offers a concluding summary too. "At Kalmar,
eco-efficiency means systems efficiency, enabling continuous
improvements with automation technologies and smart data gathering
and analysis. It also means emissions efficiency - cutting
atmospheric emissions with electrification, the latest driveline
technologies, and better operator training. Finally, it also means
resource efficiency, taking a proactive approach to maintenance to
keep equipment operating optimally, delivering smart upgrades that
help customers move more with less, and focusing on optimising our
own operations as well as those of our suppliers."
No Dreaming in California
Reducing emission levels of cargo handling equipment has been
part of strategies
introduced by the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The Clean
Air Action Plan not only lowers the pollution from equipment, but
also vessels, trains and trucks. The outcome is a drop of more than
85% for particulate matter, a 50% reduction for nitrogen oxides and
95% less sulfur oxides. The end game of the plan is that the two
ports' fleets will be completely zero-emission by 2030.
The plan has seen the replacement and upgrades of older,
diesel-powered equipment, with trials of modern zero-emission yard
tractors and cranes. The Port of Los Angeles introduced a rule in
2008 that banned access for trucks built before 1989. A follow-up
ban outlawed any trucks that did not meet the requirements of the
2007 emission standards. The process was taken a step further in
2018 with the rule that only trucks constructed in 2014 or after
will qualify for sign-up in the Port Drayage Truck Registry.
The Northern Californian Port of Oakland has its own
initiatives, such as using hybrid rubber-tyre gantry cranes at its
Oakland International Container Terminal. "These hybrids use
diesel engines and electric motors to reduce emissions,"
explains Robert Bernardo, communications manager, Port of Oakland.
"Also, several port tenants are beginning to test all-electric
trucks for use in moving cargo containers within the yard."
He explains further. "The main benefits of using these
include lower carbon dioxide emissions, lower particulate matter
pollution, less noise, less money spent on petroleum-based fuels,
and less life-cycle costs for equipment (because of much lower
maintenance and fuel costs for electric equipment).