The first three ship-to-shore gantry cranes have been delivered to the Port of Felixstowe’s new Felixstowe South development. The cranes are the biggest of their type in the world, and are capable of handling future generations of container ships with 24 containers wide on deck.
Built by Zhenhua Port Machinery Company (ZPMC) of Shanghai, the cranes were transported fully erect from China to the Port of Felixstowe. Each crane weighs approximately 2,000 tonnes and is capable of lifting 2 containers simultaneously up to a total of 70 tonnes.
Commenting on the arrival of the cranes, David Gledhill, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, which owns the Port of Felixstowe, said:
“With the first of the quayside cranes on site, Felixstowe South is quickly becoming a reality. We recently took delivery of the first batch of yard cranes and the main work on the quay wall is complete, with the fenders now being fitted. We are making good progress laying the 19 million concrete blocks that will make up the storage yard area and will have everything in place to handle the first trial vessels later this year.”
Felixstowe South is the only deep-water container terminal fully committed in the United Kingdom, and comes at a time when an increasing number of ultra-large container ships are coming in to service. Mr Gledhill added:
“It was only a few years ago that we saw the first 10,000 TEU ship enter service but within the next few years there will be over 100 of these massive ships on the major trade routes. It is essential for UK shippers and receivers that we have the facilities to accommodate these mega-ships and Felixstowe South gives us that.”
To increase stability of such large cranes, the distance between the waterside and landside legs (the rail gauge) has been increased from the 30m at the port’s Trinity Terminal to 35m for the new cranes.
The cranes will undergo a commissioning process before entering service. This will include final installation of local operational and communications systems, as well as checking the full functionality of all the cranes systems including the Merford Ergo operator’s cabin, which is based on the latest cabins as fitted on the port’s Trinity Terminal cranes.
The electrical system for the cranes is provided by Siemens (Germany) utilising Siemens latest AC electrical drives. To assist the crane driver, the cranes are fitted with a Trailer Positioning System which recognises the trailer under the crane and aids the truck operator to correctly position the container by means of ground level indication.
The cranes also have an Automatic Skew Control which corrects any skew movement of the spreader caused by wind, vessel cell guides, or load imbalance, and a semi-automatic positioning system which allows the crane operator to pre-select a ship discharge or loading operation from which the system will automatically calculate and position the crane with an optimised path and with anti-sway control.