• First Port Global (FPG)

CBoXX is a high-volume rail container that can be loaded and unloaded by robots

Duisburger Hafen AG and Leipzig-based rail technology company CargoBeamer AG have entered into a long-term cooperation for more growth in rail/road combined transport.

One element is CargoBeamer’s automated handling system for horizontally transferring non-cranable trailers between road and rail, but this will be supported by robotised cargo centres and EV "last mile" distribution to urban centres and industrial sited.

Approximately three quarters of the freight on European roads is transported by HGVs with semi-trailers, 90% of which are not cranable, although, as frequently reported by WorldCargo News, CargoBeamer’s transfer platform can also be used as lifting basket and TX Logistik and CFL Cargo use the NiKrasa lifting basket on some corridors.

"Now we offer our customers efficient and excellent climate-compatible logistics chains from ramp to ramp on the basis of their existing vehicle fleet," said Duisport CEO Erich Staake.

The CBoXX concept from CargoBeamer AG
The CBoXX concept from CargoBeamer AG

Dr Hans-Jürgen Weidemann, CEO and co-founder of CargoBeamer AG is convinced that a game-changing transfer of freight from road to rail "can be achieved only with automation, parallelisation and digitization, and by addressing the huge market for tarp, reefer, silo and mega trailers of all types with innovative rail logistics products."

A CargoBeamer transshipment track can unload and load an entire train in 15 minutes, and within 20 minutes when the train has to be split on two tracks,” claims Weidemann.

As part of agreement, the Duisport Group will implement digital platforms for processing LTL and LCL shipments for its freight forwarder and logistics customers.

This method can work all the way to China, as the partners are relying on another innovation from CargoBeamer: the “CBoXX” - a high-volume rail container that can be loaded and unloaded by robots.

The ubiquitous sea container, which dominates the market and the transcontinental movement of goods, is optimised for maritime vessels and not for automated continental rail logistics, stated Duisport. CBoXX, on the other hand, will allow environmentally-friendly, but hitherto not very flexible, freight trains to connect to modern cargo centres and offer competitive unit costs especially in the flexible market for LTL/LCL shipments.

Duisport is already the leading hub for freight trains from China: Every week, around 35 trains from Chinese commercial centres reach one of Duisburg’s “logports” via the “New Silk Road”.

With the CBoXX technology, trains will be able to transfer additional ocean freight volumes to the faster rail segment using automation, rapid track changes at the Russian and Chinese border and the optimum use of volume and weight on the rail cars. “The land route using rail is not only faster, but also connects many urban metropolitan areas in China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe,” says Staake.

As a first step, the partners will shortly start transport routes using a CargoBeamer rail terminal for trailers, with Duisburg as the starting point and destination. At present, CargoBeamer rail cars travel on one of the Alpine crossing routes to Milan/Domodossola, although a CargoBeamer terminal is going ahead in Calais for Spain traffic over Perpingan and a system has operated for Volkswagen between Volksburg and Bettembourg, for onward transport to Spain.

Source: WorldCargo News

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The NZ Government has decided that cargo handling must be moved out of Auckland city.

The long running saga over the future of Ports of Auckland as an inner city cargo port has reached an important point with NZ’s coalition government agreeing “that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable”. Ministry officials have been instructed to prepare plans to facilitate moving cargo operations elsewhere for the government to consider in early 2020. The decision was made after considering the final report of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group.

The Associate Minister of Transport Shane Jones has been a proponent of moving Auckland’s cargo handling operations to Northport, which is around 145km north of Auckland near the city of Whangarei. It is the location of NZ’s Marsden Point refinery, which has a deep water harbour and is around 15km from the rail line to Auckland.

While it has one mobile harbour crane, Northport currently handles almost no container traffic. Auckland has lost its mantle as NZ’s largest box port to Tauranga in recent years, but it handled around 900,000 TEU in FY2019. Auckland serves NZ’s largest metropolitan area and its business is heavily weighted towards import cargo and automobiles for the Auckland market.

The big problems for Auckland are its location, water depth and urban encroachment. As Auckland has grown, the port, and its auto imports in particular, have come to be regarded as a low value business, producing insufficient economic return on the “prime” waterfront land it occupies, while being responsible for road congestion. There is very little sense that the port is an economic generator in the same way Los Angeles, Hamburg and Rotterdam, for example, regard their ports.

Auckland’s population is also growing strongly, putting more pressure on the road network that serves the port. “Freight companies advised us that the number of daily trips, between the port and distribution centres, their container trucks can make is falling to just two, requiring them to invest in more trucks, further clogging the already gridlocked motorway system,” the report noted.

Source: The final report of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group.
Source: The final report of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group.

Ports of Auckland has long maintained that moving its cargo operations out of the city, only to have to spend heavily on road and rail links to get the same cargo back into Auckland where it is consumed, is not sound policy from a cost or environmental perspective. The port calculates that the extra land transport would increase the cost of the imports it handles today by between NZ$533 -$626M a year. From an emissions perspective the port says moving all its cargo through North Port will increase emissions by 700%.

In its analysis the Working Group focussed on concerns about traffic congestion and the return the port generates on the value of its land, compared to their potential as an urban zone. it also considered the port’s small footprint, which it cannot expand, and the cost and environmental impact of dredging to accommodate bigger vessels before concluding that a port in the current location is no longer economical or environmentally viable.

Port’s of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson has slammed the report as a “jumble of made up facts”, in particular with regard to its its valuation of the port’s property. “This is the fifth port study in my eight years as CEO of Ports of Auckland, and, well, let’s say it’s not the best,” he said. The Associate Minister disagreed. “I’m pleased my Cabinet colleagues have recognised the merit of this report and have agreed move forward with this work,” Jones said.

Source: The final report of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group.
Source: The final report of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group.

When it comes to taking the next step, the problem for the central government is that it has a very limited ability to compel Port of Auckland and its owner the Auckland City Council to move the operation. Furthermore, the idea that Auckland, Tauranga and Northport, which are all owned (or majority owned in the case of Tauranga) by regional Council holding companies, will come together and work out a deal is unrealistic.

In 2006 when Maersk was playing Tauranga and Auckland off against each other as it selected a hub port the ports got together and discussed a merger. As soon as Maersk made up its mind the ports dropped the idea of merging and went back to competing. Over time some of the port companies in NZ have invested in others as a blocking move to protect their own business. Northport is 50% owned by the Port of Tauranga, Auckland’s main competitor today.

The Working Group acknowledged there may be “entrenched behavioural and legal barriers” to the port companies cooperating. It recommended the Government take a leadership role and set clear deadlines, including that the transition should begin immediately and be fully completed by no later than 2034, with a “stretch target” of 2029.

As a first step the Working Group recommended the Government give the ports and their owners until 1 December 2020 to “reach commercial agreement on how the strategy is to be implemented”. If this was not achieved it called for new legislation to reform the Port Companies Act 1988 to achieve the goal of moving Ports of Auckland.

The government has opted for a more conciliatory process, with no fixed deadline at this point. “Ministers have instructed the Ministry of Transport to undertake further work on funding and financing options, governance and commercial considerations, land use planning, legislative and regulatory considerations as well as some additional transport and logistics analysis, said Jones.

“I expect this analysis to consider environmental effects, including on New Zealand’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, and consideration of Government infrastructure investments in roads and rail, for example, building a rail spur to Marsden Point. The Government also wants officials working on the project to collaborate with its new Infrastructure Commission “to ensure we’re taking a holistic view of our logistics network and the major infrastructure needs of New Zealand”.

“Shifting Auckland’s Port will be a huge undertaking and, if done right, will have benefits for all of New Zealand, not just Auckland and Northland”, said Minister Jones. “Nobody is keen on spending too much longer developing lengthy reports but this is a once-in-a-generation project and widespread buy-in is important, as is the need to make the best decisions for the long-term prosperity of our supply chain”.

Jones wants officials to report back to Cabinet with plans in May 2020.

It is not clear what Ports of Auckland will do now. At the moment it is part way through a complex project to implement automated straddle carriers in its yard for managing stacking and road truck handling. Last week it released two consultant studies that rebut the facts and figures the Government’s Working Group used in its analysis, but these look like closing the gate after the horse has bolted.

Source: WorldCargo News

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  • First Port Global (FPG)

An APL vessel has broken its moorings and hit a crane at DP World’s Antwerp Gateway terminal.

An incident at the Port of Antwerp on 9 December has resulted in a Kalmar STS crane being knocked over by the APL Mexico City.

The APL Mexico City is a 9,200 TEU vessel with a length of 328 m and beam of 46m. The port has not released a statement, but it appears the vessel was berthed at the MSC terminal on the other side of Antwerp’s Deurganckdock when it broke its moorings, drifted across the Deurganckdock and struck the crane at DP World’s Antwerp Gateway terminal.

The crane was not operational at the time and it there were no injuries. The Port of Antwerp reported that ship was brought safely back to the quay soon after and operations were resumed.

The crane itself is a complete loss. It was QC No.2, one of six Kalmar STS cranes that were delivered to Antwerp Gateway in 2005. It does not appear to be one of the three from this series that were raised recently by Kalmar.

The incident occurred in a week where Antwerp has had problems with high winds and difficult weather conditions. Earlier in the week one of the port’s water buses was blown into a structure, injuring 12 people.

Source: WorldCargo News

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