The Port of Felixstowe has announced the delivery of its first remote-controlled rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs).
Built by crane manufacturer Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co. (ZPMC), the arrival of the four machines will be followed by the delivery of four other units during the next few weeks.
In addition to this, Felixstowe has already launched a manual testing phase for two remote-controlled ship-to-shore gantry cranes that will be deployed in “full remote mode” in the near future.
Bjorn Henriksson, ABB, discusses remote crane operations in a recent Port Technology technical paper
Robert Ashton, Operations Director at the Port of Felixstowe, commented: “The new cranes represent an important step towards a greater degree of remote working at the Port of Felixstowe. Remote working will deliver benefits for both our employees and our customers.
“For the drivers, the ergonomics are much better than a traditional operation. The physical stress to a driver's back, neck and shoulders will be significantly reduced and the vibrations experienced as cranes operate will be eliminated altogether.
“Operationally, we will be able to deploy equipment more dynamically to meet peaks in demand and locating operators, vessel controllers and supervisors closer to one another will lead to improvements in alignment and communication.”
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According to a further statement from the Hutchison Ports facility, the RTGs will serve Berths 8 and 9, where an additional 18,000 TEU of container storage has been created to meet growing demand.
The cranes are also electric-powered and able to stack containers 6-high, boosting the eco-efficiency of port operations and improving yard utilization.