Modern ports need advanced equipment. Ports are spoilt for use.
According to a recent McKinsey report, most ports have adopted automation more slowly than comparable sectors, notably mining and warehousing. But this is changing. It goes without saying that automated ports are safer than conventional ones. The number of human-related disruptions falls, and performance becomes more predictable. Yet the up-front capital expenditures are quite high, and the operational challenges—a shortage of capabilities, poor data, siloed operations, and difficulty handling exceptions—are very significant. The McKinsey survey indicates that while operating expenses decline, so does productivity, and the returns on invested capital are currently lower than the industry norm.
India has 12 major ports and 200 notified minor and intermediate ports. In recent times, ships calling at Indian ports are turning around faster and benefiting from higher berth productivity thanks to a renewed government focus on port infrastructure development and ease-of-doing-business measures. WHat has changed is the way evolution of cargo handling equipment has kept pace with the dramatic increase in international shipping activity. As vessel sizes continue to increase, the volume of container and roll-on/roll-off cargo continues to grow. Efficiencies in handling these packaging forms has become increasingly important and marine terminal equipment design and manufacturing continues under the gun to meet the growing challenges.
Making it work
In order to find out the type of equipment and port systems required at each terminal, as well as their layout, a compatibility study needs to be first carried out, which, apart from checking marina access, also involves a check of the viability of inbound operations, mooring, unloading, undocking and departure of a ship in port and terminal from a geometrical viewpoint. This includes attention to elements such as:
*Performance and ranges of berthing support systems
*Features and layout of the defence systems
*Features and layout of mooring systems
*Features and work envelope for access gateways.
The study should also consider environmental aspects, such as winds and swell. And despite being docked, a ship can move according to six degrees of freedom, three translational ones (heaving, sway and surge) and three rotational ones (pitch, roll and yaw). It is also necessary to assess if they are exposed to explosive atmospheres or not and with which classification, as well as the degrees of protection against dust and water.
Speaking about some of the equipment, Anil Bhatia, VP, sales & marketing, TIL Limited, says, “We have an exclusive partnership with the Hyster-Yale Group for providing a range of port handling equipment, such as reach stackers, empty & laden container handlers and high capacity forklift trucks (8T and above), to customers in India, Nepal and Bhutan. Hyster-Yale Group is a global leader in counterbalance forklift trucks, container handlers, reach stackers and warehousing solutions, as well as quality parts, worldwide.”
The ReachStackers built at TIL’s Kharagpur factory follow the same stringent design and quality standards in line with those produced at Hyster’s Nijmegen plant in the Netherlands. TIL has also begun to export to markets in the Asia Pacific region, such as, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand.
“The Hyster-TIL range of reach stackers, because of outstanding maneuverability and superior handling speed, optimise space utilisation in container terminals,” adds Bhatia.
With increased containerisation of domestic cargo, along with the development of Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) and Multi-Modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs), the demand for material handling equipment is on the rise. The obvious challenge is to cater to this increased demand with the right assortment of products and superior customer service to ensure maximum equipment uptime.
For ascertaining the right kind of equipment, i.e. application assessment, TIL conducts a physical assessment of the application, along with the customer to understand customer needs and operational challenges. This helps us in suggesting the right kind of equipment that would drive productivity. We can also do a yard optimisation study to suggest the optimal use of available storage area.
Similarly, Sany India develops a wide range of port equipment such as reach stackers, container handlers, forklift trucks, material handlers, and large port cranes like ship-to-shore container crane, while equipment like portal jib cranes, rail-mounted gantry cranes, and rubber tyre gantry cranes can be customised. The company has used the design rom China and Germany. Sanjay Saxena, VP & BU head, heavy equipment and concrete, Sany India, ”Considering the large number of trade business done at ports, we see an increasing demand owing to current market drivers, mainly arising from increasing trade activities that is resulting in higher container traffic and bulk material handling. It is these two growth parameters that will attract investment in the form of capacity addition in existing port and CFS facilities, as well as creation of new facilities. The recent initiatives by the government has helped increase the demand for port equipment like reach stackers, RTGS, ECH, STS, etc, which is poised to grow in the coming years.”
The pace of technological advances in the Indian freight industry is accelerating and is expected to gain momentum, as the government joins all ports and terminals in the country to the radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology-enabled container tracking programme.
Telematics is the technology of the future that will drive the port handling equipment market going forward. They are high technology solutions that help to boost performance by utilising real time data and predictive/preventive maintenance. Key features include – remote management of key performance indicators of the equipment, impact sensing, tracking regular preventive maintenance schedules, tracking and reporting aggregate costs, GPS tracking, access control, automatic shutdown, operator pre-shift checklist, etc.