MSC PSA European Terminal (MPET) has launched a new fully electric straddle carrier (e-straddle carrier) at its terminal in the Port of Antwerp.
The launch comes as part of the joint Green Straddle Carrier Program initiated by MPET, Antwerp Terminal Services (ATS), and PSA Antwerp (PSAA).
Konecranes built the e-straddle carrier by applying new battery technology to allow continuous operation for more than four hours and it is the first of its kind in mainland Europe.
In line with the UN Paris Climate Agreement and the EU Green Deal, ATS, MPET, and PSAA aim to reduce their carbon emissions by 50 per cent in 2030, against a 2019 baseline and achieve net-zero emissions for all their terminals by 2050.
As part of their plan to reach these objectives, the e-straddle carrier, which runs 100 per cent on batteries and takes approximately 90 minutes to fully recharge, can play an important role in the long run by helping to reduce terminal greenhouse gas emissions, according to MPET.
Currently, all electricity purchased by MPET and the PSA terminals in Belgium is solely from renewable sources thus there will not be any greenhouse gases emitted while producing energy to power the e-straddle carriers.
Over the coming months, MPET will evaluate the e-straddle carrier’s performance in live operations.
During this trial period, ATS will assess how the equipment can be improved, and examine other factors that are necessary to scale up this new technology, including how to optimise the recharging of a larger fleet and the possibility of safely and effectively progressing to full scale operations.
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Johan Van Daele, CEO at MPET, said: “The energy transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable alternatives is in full swing and we are taking a leading role at our terminals.
“Although we still have many obstacles to clear before scaling up our e-straddle carrier programme, having a working prototype is an important first step to a zero-emission straddle carrier fleet,” Van Daele added.
The e-straddle carrier feasibility study is part of the joint Green Straddle Carrier Program, in which the terminal operators are holistically evaluating four major technological pathways to significantly reduce these vehicles’ carbon emissions in their actual working environment.
These pathways include full electrification, hydrogen, hybrid battery/diesel and biofuel.
Conclusive results from the study will determine which technology will be scaled up to meet future energy needs, MPET reported.
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Francis De Ruytter, Regional Head of Sustainability for PSA Europe, Mediterranean and the Americas, said: “Straddle carriers are crucial in maintaining highly productive operations at our terminals, but at the same time they are responsible for approximately 90 per cent of our direct emissions in Belgium.
“We are examining alternatives, while concurrently investing in our Green Straddle Carrier Program that explores various technological options and partners to make these vehicles more sustainable in the near term,” Ruytter added.
Earlier this month, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges launched the ‘D-Hive drone-in-a-box’ network to enhance security in the port area.
The Antwerp port area is more than 120 square kilometres, and it will now be covered by the D-Hive network of six autonomous drones.