DP World wants to combine the High Bay Storage system for containers with automated distribution centres.
Patrick Bol, director of global operations at DP World, believes its High Bay Storage (HBS) container terminal concept developed in conjunction with Netphen (Germany)-based cargo-handling technology companies Amova and SMS (owned by Amova), will in addition to speeding up yard operations also address the changing needs of the container supply chain.
Speaking at TOC Europe 2019 in Rotterdam, the executive said: “E-commerce is doubling in size every four years and we believe the future will be characterised by very strong growth in LCL cargo, especially in regions like Africa and Latin America. By directly connecting HBS with purpose designed automated distribution centres operated by either 3PLs or cargo owners at the rear of the racking system we believe HBS will usher in a new era of portcentric logistics.”
Bol stressed: “The expectation of end consumers as to when they receive their goods continues to change while we are seeing manufacturing taking place over a wider area and in smaller clusters and this is fuelling the LCL business. HBS will allow us to compress the supply chain and provide a more effective system when it comes to processing high-velocity cargoes such as electronics, apparel, automotive and furniture.”
Under the HBS system each container is suspended on its own platform. It allows all types of container, including reefers, to be stacked up to 11 high, and for each unit to be accessed wherever it is in the stack without having to remove those boxes stacked on top of it. This compares with five-to-six high stacks in conventional yard operations.
According to Bol, installing HBS takes approximately two years and it costs about 18% more than a yard operation based on automated stacking cranes. But its opex costs are 30% lower.
DP World is installing its first proof of concept HBS at Jebel Ali. The pilot project will have five racks and 750 container slots, some of which will be for reefer containers. The racks will be served by two cranes, which SMS says will be able to deliver 20-22 containers per hour.
The pilot site is at the new T4 in Jebel Ali, but Bol said six to seven terminals in the company’s portfolio had expressed an interest in the system. “Globally we have a utilisation of around 78% and in several facilities it is much higher. We have to address handling capacity and we see HBS as an important element in this,” said Bol.