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Kalmar RTG orders roll in

Kalmar is reporting a surge in orders for rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs), having secured 100% of RTG sales in the EMEA region – covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa – in the first quarter of 2004.

The orders, which have been placed by both new and existing customers around the world, have reflected growing interest in Kalmar 16-wheel RTG model, as well as its Smartrail autosteering and container position verification system.

J.S.C. PetroLesPort at the Port of St Petersburg has ordered one 16-wheel unit, while Liscont Container Terminal at the Port of Lisbon has ordered three 16-wheel RTGs fitted with Smartrail as part of its strategy to upgrade its existing reachstacker system by gradually phasing in 16-wheel RTGs. Meanwhile, Turkey Kumport has ordered one 8-wheel unit with Smartrail to join the three already in operation and Laem Chabang Container Terminal 1 Ltd in Thailand is increasing its fleet of 8-wheel RTGs to five with an order for three more Smartrail units.

These latest orders follow on from the orders for 14 rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes placed earlier this year by two major Red Sea port facilities – ten 16-wheel models for Jeddah South Container Terminal in Saudi Arabia and four RTGs for the Port of Djibouti.

Commenting on the recent spate of orders, Keijo Parviainen, VP Kalmar Yard Cranes, says:

“Kalmar has been manufacturing both 8- and 16-wheel RTGs for a number of years. While some 80% of the world RTG fleet is made up of 8-wheel models, Kalmar believes that it is important to cater to all customers needs. At present, 50% of Kalmar RTG order backlog is for 16-wheel models, showing an increase in customer demand for this particular model.

In performance terms, there is little difference between 8- and 16-wheel RTGs, explains Mr Parviainen: both models incorporate Kalmar state-of-the-art trolley design, which features a chain drive powered by a single motor. According to Mr Parviainen, the main argument in favour of 16-wheel RTGs is related to ground pressure.

“In theory, using a 16-wheel model puts less stress on the terminal surface as the tyre pressure is lighter. And the larger the tyres, the lower the pressure. Kalmar customer can really benefit in this respect because our 16-wheel model can use large 16.00-25.00 tyres which enable terminal operators to minimise wear and tear costs on the yard surface.

A second advantage of the 16-wheel RTG is the fact that, unlike those on the 8-wheel model, the wheels counter-rotate when the unit is turning, which means less wear on the tyres themselves. This is a benefit even though tyre wear accounts for less than 5% of overall RTG maintenance costs.

Mr Parviainen points out though that in favour of the 8-wheel design is the fact that it requires only half as much runway space:

’’In the end, it is for the customer to decide which design best suits his needs. We can offer him both options.’’

The latest RTG orders have been placed by both existing Kalmar customers and new clients. Kumport in Istanbul is Turkey largest private port and already has a fleet of three state-of-the-art Kalmar RTGs – all featuring the Smartrail autosteering and container position verification system and the remote crane monitoring system (RCMS). Due to the excellent performance of these machines, the operator has now ordered a fourth RTG, which will begin operations in the port newly reclaimed expansion area All four RTGs are 7+1 wide (ie they can straddle seven rows of containers plus one vehicle lane) and can lift one container over a 5-high stack.

Laem Chabang International Terminal started with an older RTG design in 1997. Since then, Kalmar RTGs with a much higher level of sophistication and 6+1 wide and one over 5 high stacking capacity have taken on a major role in the container yard. With the order for three new 1 over 6 high machines, Laem Chabang will now have five Kalmar RTGs in operation. For minimal maintenance and maximum productivity, the RTGs at Laem Chabang feature AC drives, which, unlike DC drives, require hardly any maintenance. Laem Chabang latest 8-wheel models will be fitted with Smartrail.

Liscont Container Terminal is a deep-sea facility at the Port of Lisbon, managed and operated by Liscont under a long-term concession from the port authority. The Liscont terminal has excellent intermodal connections, distributing cargo to all main Iberian destinations by block train. Traditionally, the facility has used reachstackers for its container handling activities. However, as box volumes continue to increase, it plans to boost significantly its productivity by gradually introducing an RTG system. Its first RTG order with Kalmar is for three16-wheel RTGs with Smartrail, with an option for five more.

The order for one 16-wheel unit is the first Kalmar RTG for J.S.C. PetroLesPort in the Port of St Petersburg. However, the port itself is a big user of Kalmar handling technology with a number of straddle carriers and terminal tractors in operation, as well as two RTGs, ordered by First Container Terminal early last year. These two RTGs are 6+1 wide and are capable of 5+1 high stacking. They also feature Kalmar Smartrail auto steering system and container position verification system, further enhancing port productivity.

Today there are 228 Kalmar RTGs operating in ports and terminals around the world. The company has installed a total of 182 Smartrail auto steering and container position verification systems; 67 into Kalmar machines and 115 retrofits to other brand RTGs. Explains Mr Parviainen:

“The Smartrail system provides accurate operations even under the most adverse weather conditions. It is also practically service-free, since there are no buried wires, transponders or painted lines to be maintained. All these features are extremely beneficial for terminal operators who are looking for reliable, sturdy and efficient yard handling systems.

Notes to editors:

Press information can be found on Kalmar website Simply click on News Room to be taken to a list of recent press releases or on Press Pictures to be taken to the Kalmar photo gallery.

The caption for the photograph reads:

“Kalmar has fitted 182 RTGs around the world with its Smartrail auto steering and container position verification system, including this machine owned by Poh Tiong Choon Logistics Limited (PTCL) in Singapore.

Kalmar is a global provider of heavy duty materials handling equipment and services to ports, intermodal traffic, terminals and demanding industrial customers. Kalmar focuses on supplying handling solutions that enable customers to operate with a high level of efficiency and reliability. Every fourth container or trailer transfer at terminals around the world is handled by a Kalmar machine.

Kalmar provides a large range of value added services such as maintenance contracts and fleet management. Manufacturing plants are situated in Sweden (as is the head office), in Finland, the Netherlands, Estonia, Malaysia, China and the USA.

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