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Konecranes and Fluidmesh join forces to deliver world-first 100% wireless automated rubber tired gantry crane system

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Konecranes and Fluidmesh join forces to deliver world-first 100% wireless automated rubber tired gantry crane system. Image: Konecranes
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Konecranes and Fluidmesh Networks announce that they have joined forces and successfully carried out proof-of-concept testing of fully wireless communication for the Konecranes Automated RTG system.

This breakthrough allows container terminal operators to roll out remote control and automation to RTGs in the container yard without running fiber or cable spools, with substantial savings in cost and time.

Port and container terminal operators have been embracing automation to increase productivity and give better working conditions to their employees. Many of the newest and largest container terminals have been adopting some level of automation and support for remote operations: from ship-to-shore cranes, to horizontal transport, to automated stacking cranes.

However, this has not been the case for RTGs, which are widely used in container terminals around the world. Much of the world’s RTG fleet is diesel-powered, and there have been limited options for automating RTGs given the fact that running cables to them is costly and often unpractical. Konecranes and Fluidmesh have been working closely to solve the connectivity challenge, creating a new opportunity for container terminal operators.

The automation solution for RTGs comes as part of the Konecranes ARTG 2.0 system update, which was in development for over two years with thousands of hours of field testing. Fluidmesh MPLS-based wireless technology has been used to guarantee low latency and high throughput to the RTGs for control and live-video data. The system has been designed to operate on licensed as well as unlicensed frequencies around the world, providing north of 99.95% uptime in real working conditions.

“We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to work with a leader like Konecranes and contribute to a system that helps container terminal operators around the world to embrace automation and drive the productivity of their RTGs,” comments Cosimo Malesci, Fluidmesh Co-Founder and EVP Sales and Marketing. “Our wireless MPLS-based technology has been proven in many vehicle automation systems around the world where 802.11 WiFi or LTE haven’t been able to deliver. Our focus on seamless roaming, extremely low latency and high throughput wireless networks to drive productivity, safety, and security continues to pay off. We are truly honored to have been able to deliver such performance to the container terminal space.”

“We have been impressed by Fluidmesh Wireless MPLS technology since day one,” comments Sampo Pihkala, Chief System Engineer ARTG at Konecranes. “We have been testing many different wireless technologies for crane operations over the last decade and the throughput and reliability delivered by Fluidmesh is unparalleled. Being able to work with a company that truly understands the requirements and challenges in the OT and port automation space has helped us to bring a truly innovative solution to the market in record time.”

This cooperation with Fluidmesh is part of Kone­cranes’ path to port automation, where container terminals improve productivity and safety in manageable steps. From smart features up to full automation, the path can include supervised operation and remote operation to smoothly introduce the power of automation. The path to port automation applies to all container handling equipment brands. Full automation can be the final goal but it doesn’t have to be. Flexibility is the key.

Container Terminal

New booking portal Modility simplifies access to intermodal traffic

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New booking portal Modility simplifies access to intermodal traffic. Image: HHLA
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Logistics Group Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG has come up with an initiative to develop a new booking portal for intermodal transport together with eleven partners from the transport and freight-forwarding sector. Modility is being created as a provider-neutral corporate spin-off to help shape the digital future of intermodal transport and promote the access to climate-friendly intermodal shipments. An informational website has been provided at www.modility.com as an initial step. The booking portal aims to go live by the end of this year.

As a booking and brokerage portal, Modility seeks to connect intermodal operators’ available transport capacities with the transport needs of freight forwarders. The portal focuses on combined road/rail transport throughout Europe.

Chairwoman of HHLA’s Executive Board Angela Titzrath sees Modility as a good example of how to develop cooperative growth strategies: “We are working together with customers and partners to develop a new digital hub which will help shape the transport flows of the future. HHLA regards itself as the initiator of a portal delivering new digital potential which will benefit many players in the logistics sector. The close cooperation ensures that the ideas and interests of intermodal transport market participants are taken into account.”

Modility provides the opportunity to gain easy access to intermodal transport offers while fostering new customer relationships. Intermodal transport will thus be further bolstered as an efficient, environmentally friendly transport system.

Quick and easy access to climate-friendly intermodal transport

“With Modility, we’re seeking to provide quick, easy access to climate-friendly door-to-door transport,” states Lars Neumann, Director of Logistics, Strategy and Business Development at Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG. He adds that there is great potential for shifting transport shipments from roads to rails.

HHLA is working together with cooperation and development partners from different segments of the transport and freight-forwarding industry, including the International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport (UIRR), to develop a solution by the market for the market. Neumann continues, “We’re currently focusing on needs-based further development of the application. We are in dialogue with prospective customers, potential users and pilot customers to ensure Modility takes the different needs into account and will meet market requirements when it goes live.”

Modility: inform, plan and book

The portal is unique in its type and development. The complexity of intermodal transport is mapped on a provider-neutral portal with clearly organised functions based on the formula inform, plan, book that Modility has devised.

The new website www.modility.com provides an initial impression of its functions. Prospective customers and potential users can find out about Modility’s advantages and current developments on this site. The future booking portal is currently undergoing tests in cooperation with the development partners to further optimise the range of functions before it is launched.

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Container Terminal

Kloosterboer starts construction of Cool Port II

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Kloosterboer starts construction of Cool Port II. Image: Kloosterboer
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New state-of-the-art fully automatic high-rise cold store at City Terminal Rotterdam

July 13 Kloosterboer starts construction of a new state-of-the-art fully automatic multi-customer high-rise cold store with a storage capacity of 60,000 pallet places at City Terminal Rotterdam. The building is expected to be completed in January 2022.

Two years after the realization of Kloosterboer Cool Port I, an ultra-modern fruit terminal with a combination of cooling and freezing capacity, Kloosterboer is now building a state-of-the-art fully automatic high-rise cold store at City Terminal Rotterdam. Pallets are supplied by self-unloading or conventional trucks and automatically go from the dispatch hall via roller conveyors, turntables and locks to the cold store, where cranes automatically put the pallets in place.

Sustainability is paramount at Kloosterboer. The high-rise cold store is about 35-45% more energy efficient compared to a conventional cold store. The 40 meter high building is built according to the high BREEAM requirements. The intention is to place 2,700 solar panels on the roof. With the existing solar panel installation of 11,000 solar panels on Cool Port I, Kloosterboer is a forerunner in the port of Rotterdam in generating solar energy for its own use.

Launching customer is Lamb Weston / Meijer, one of the largest producers of frozen potato products. They opt for logistics service provider Kloosterboer to have its export products handled by Kloosterboer via the port of Rotterdam. In the future, Lamb Weston / Meijer goods will be delivered from various production locations in the Netherlands to Cool Port II, among others. From there, the containers are loaded and then transported by barge to the container terminals on the Maasvlakte for further export. 

Kloosterboer is an enterprising, innovative and sustainable logistics service provider. With the construction of Cool Port II, Kloosterboer still has enough space for the next phase; Cool Port III.

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Container Terminal

APM Terminals introduces APIs to transform the next generation of terminal data

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APM Terminals introduces APIs to transform the next generation of terminal data. Image: APM Terminals
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APM Terminals has introduced application programming interface accessibility to build stronger, digital supply chains for logistics customers. APIs allow data to be transmitted in just seconds from the terminals’ operating systems directly to customers own transport management or logistics systems.

“We have co-developed our APIs with customers looking for real-time data to give them better visibility at the container terminal level,” said David Francis, APM Terminals Head of Digital Customer Solutions. Once a customer queries a container or multiple containers, they’ll receive the latest status of the container instantly. “By creating better integration with our data through APIs we can improve decision-making for our customers and remove supply chain inefficiencies, which are costing the industry billions each year,” he explains.

During the pandemic, cargo visibility issues have been exacerbated due to, among other things, transport and travel restrictions, reduced capacity and additional import/export controls. At the same time, demand patterns literally changed overnight as employees started to work remotely. “Never before, has speed and visibility been so key for improving the flow of goods and managing expectations,” says Francis.

Delivery experience as important as the product

The exponential increase in ecommerce and the urgency of home deliveries brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the fact that for some customers, the delivery experience has become integral to the product itself. For companies wanting to gain a competitive edge, getting this right is essential.

Currently, logistics companies spend a lot of time calling or emailing for cargo status updates. Over the last few months, this has been exacerbated by critical cargo for medical support and delays caused by reduced staffing. Apart from being inefficient in terms of human capital, this can also lead to error and delays.

A step up from EDI

Larger logistics companies may also rely on Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), which has been commonly used since the 1970s. However, as the internet’s capabilities have grown, the use of APIs are playing an increasingly important role, offering easier integration into digital ecosystems used by customers.

The packaging and sending of data using EDI can, in some scenarios, result in data being outdated several hours, increasing the likelihood of supply chain partners using incorrect information to make decisions. This makes APM Terminals’ APIs the ideal solution for shipping lines, inland transporters, cargo owners and managers, and data aggregators who process higher volumes.

Initially, APM Terminals is making APIs available to track import availability at container level, including container data, estimated time of arrival and date of discharge from the vessel, the status of the container, any holds on the container, and whether a truck appointment has been made.

The company is also offering an API to track vessel schedules in real-time, including estimated arrival and departure times, and cut-off times for delivering a variety of container types.

APIs speed implementation, save time and create a digital edge 

APM Terminals’ APIs use familiar standard protocols, meaning that implementation by the customer is a fast, one-time process that saves time and IT resources. Any maintenance on the API is carried out by APM Terminals.

The first locations to support the import availability and vessel schedule APIs are APM Terminals Pier 400 Los Angeles, California – North America’s largest privately-operated container terminal and Pacific gateway to the United States along with APM Terminals Port Elizabeth – the company’s largest container terminal on the US East Coast serving as the Atlantic gateway to the US and Canada – and APM Terminals Mobile, Alabama – the company’s US Gulf gateway to the Southeast, Midwest and Central Canada. Fifteen more terminals in the company’s global portfolio will be added by the end of the year.

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