Container Volumes and Terminal Capacity in North Europe II
Dynamar has recently issued “Container Volumes and Terminal Capacity in North Europe II”, the latest report in its Ports and Terminals series.
Main container trades, ports and terminals
Europe-Far East and Transatlantic are the two major trades connecting with North Europe. The services of the eighteen carriers operating in these two trades call at seventeen ports in the Gothenburg-Sines range. In 2014, these ports had a total throughput of 53 million TEU, +5% year-on-year. As matters are, volumes will be lower this year.
These seventeen ports comprise 55 container terminals equipped with ship-to-shore gantries. As of the end of 2014, they had a combined handling capacity of 86 million TEU. The resulting 62% occupancy may seem to run counter to congestion having plagued so many ports.
The main reason for this congestion phenomenon was and is that demand doesn’t come in nice regular volumes to be discharged and loaded every day. Even the largest ships remain prone to the elements, sometimes causing havoc to schedule integrity. Delayed ships may bunch up in their next North European port, which will work through further in their schedule.
Growing vessel sizes
At the start of this century world’s largest box ship was a 8,200 TEU Maersk vessel. Last April, a ship with nearly 2.5 times that capacity was delivered: UASC’s 19,900 TEU “Barzan”. The number of +18,000 TEU leviathans will swell to well over 110 by 2019.
6,000 moves per day
Considering their call sizes, the consensus among big ship carriers is that terminals should handle 6,000 moves a day on a ULCS; stevedores rather see 3,500 moves as a more realistic maximum. ULCS is the generic name for container ships larger than 10,000 TEU.
While the 347-metre 8,200 TEU ship could be handled with seven ship-to-shore container gantries, the 400-metre long, though much wider 18,000+ TEU design can be worked with 9 quay cranes at the max. The latter’s spreaders do have to travel longer, i.e. wider and deeper. Tandem-spreaders will be used whenever possible and the cranes need to be taller, minimum 50 metres under the spreader. Thus, they are heavier: some 2,000 tons and therefore require stronger quays, along 17 to 18 metres water depth.
Until recently, just four container terminals in North Europe were purpose-built for the handling of Ultra Large Container Ships, including the current largest afloat:
EUROGATE Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven/Germany, on 18 metres deep water
Hutchison’s Berths 8/9 Terminal in Felixstowe/UK - 16/18 metres
ECT’s Euromax at Maasvlakte 1 in Rotterdam - 20 metres
DP World’s London Gateway in London/UK - 17 metres (not yet structurally handling the big ships)
New 2015 facilities
This year, three more tailor-made ULCS facilities have been or will be launched:
April: APM Terminal Rotterdam II at reclaimed Maasvlakte 2. Fully automated including the novelty of (eight) remotely controlled StS gantry cranes with an outreach of 24 boxes wide
September: DP World’s Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG), same area, fully automated and remotely controlled too: all 14 quay cranes, i.e. including the three barge gantries
December: Liverpool2 Container Terminal, semi-automated yard with initially five conventionally operated ship-to-shore gantries
Automation, the holy grail
Full quay crane automation is seen as the only way to achieve 6,000 quay-side moves per 24 hours. Unlike the traditional human crane-driver, a robot crane doesn’t suffer from back or neck stress, fatigue or fading concentration and can easily withstand the required faster acceleration and braking.
Both APM Terminal II and RWG Rotterdam expect an ultimate production of 6,000 moves per day working the ULCS with 6 automated quay cranes, once their almost excessive degree of automation has been fine tuned, which may take a while…
6,000 moves per 24 hours: the vast majority of all the corresponding around 11,000 TEU have to be delivered to the consignee, or to be taken to the terminal by the shipper. Superior connecting infrastructure will be key. Apart from expanding yard space and equipment, it will be required to start the delivery of inbound boxes while the vessel is discharging. A fast quay crane production puts tremendous pressure on the terminal’s storage capacity.
Existing 2014 North Europe Container Terminal capacity (of ports handling Far East and North America shipping services)
Europe North West
TEU *1 million
(Source: “CONTAINER VOLUMES & TERMINAL CAPACITY in North Europe II”, published by Dynamar B.V.)
Note: a free contents overview of “CONTAINER VOLUMES & TERMINAL CAPACITY in North Europe II”, including more on the above issues can be downloaded at www.dynamar.com/publications/140
Since 1981, Dynamar B.V. of Alkmaar, the Netherlands, has provided Transport and Shipping Information and Consultancy services for the Marine, Energy and Financial sectors. Dynamar today is world's leading container sector credit risk analyst, a major provider of analytical container shipping news and commentary, and a regular supplier of bespoke liner shipping consultancy services.
Dynamar B.V., P.O. Box 440, 1800 AK ALKMAAR, The Netherlands