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Pioneering efforts lead to the new Kalmar Shuttle Carrier

At the Terminal Operations Conference in Lisbon (19-21 June, 2001), Kalmar Industries formally announced the launch of its latest container handling product, the revolutionary Shuttle Carrier, designed to meet the high-speed requirements of those terminals now gearing up to handle post-Panamax ships of 6,000 to 12,000TEU.


The Shuttle Carrier, which has been developed in close co-operation with the leading Belgian stevedoring company, Hessenatie, is now being actively marketed by Kalmar to other ports and terminal operators that are looking to build or upgrade their facilities.

Hessenatie is pioneering the development of a completely new container handling system for use at its planned MSC-Hessenatie automated terminal on the left bank of the River Scheldt in Antwerp. The system is based on a new concept, the centrepiece of which is the Shuttle Carrier. The aim is to achieve extremely high levels of productivity by making ship-to-shore crane cycle times independent of the availability of transfer vehicles.

Hessenatie has selected the new concept of OBCs (overhead bridge cranes) for its import and export stacks and needed a fast method of transferring containers between the ship and the stacks. The traditional solution would have been terminal tractors but Hessenatie felt that these were inefficient for the style of operation it envisaged. In trying to achieve the required handling rates, it anticipated considerable quayside congestion or crane delays. The new Shuttle Carrier developed by Kalmar offers the perfect solution for Hessenatie's problem.

Double-buffering
The key to the concept is double buffering. The ship-to-shore cranes are able to place boxes directly onto the quay and do not have to wait for the Shuttle Carriers to arrive. Consequently the crane drivers can concentrate on trying to achieve maximum cycle times, maintaining a buffer of containers on the quayside.

Similarly, the stacking cranes work to and from buffer stacks and in theory, there should be no crane waiting time.

Since the Shuttle Carrier never needs to wait for the cranes, either on the quay or next to the stacks, it is able to provide the required operational speed and complete a high number of cycles per hour between the ship and stack.

Successful testing
Hessenatie has been testing the concept at its terminal in the Delwaide Dock. During the test period, the Shuttle Carrier has been transporting and stacking containers with excellent reliability and has achieved impressive cycle times.Today, after extensive trials, it is able to perform all of the operational functions required of it.

The Kalmar Shuttle Carrier can be described as a smaller, simpler version of Kalmar's proven straddle carrier design.Since it is only able to stack two-high, its construction is lightweight, resulting in higher acceleration, braking and running speeds.A lower centre of gravity also enables it to achieve higher cornering speeds safely, making it easy for the operator to manoeuvre. RMGs and RTGs
AlthoughtheHessenatieapplicationinvolvesoverhead bridge cranes, Kalmar pointsoutthatthe Shuttle Carrier is also able to work between the quay and stack areas served by either RMGs or RTGs (rubber-tyred gantry cranes).

Also for terminals planning to upgrade their existing facilities with yard cranes, the Shuttle Carrier option should be considered, says the company.