A groundbreaking joint-venture formed by DP World and the SMS group is expected to revolutionise the way that containers are handled in ports through the development of an intelligent storage system. The new technology will be deployed at Jebel Ali Terminal 4 in Dubai in time for the Dubai Expo 2020 world fair.
The so-called High Bay Storage system was originally developed by the SMS subsidiary, Amova, for the purpose of handling metal coils weighing as much as 50 tons each in racks as high as 50 metres. Rather than stacking containers directly on top of each other, which has been the standard practice for decades, the system places each container in an individual compartment within a 11-storey rack. According to SMS, the arrangement will create 200 per cent more capacity than a storage yard in a conventional container terminal or could create the same landslide container stacking capacity but with less than a third of the space.
There are other benefits of this technology as well, the developers point out. For example, the design of the rack means that any container can be accessed without first having to move another one. The system is also expected to introduce significant gains in terms of speed, energy efficiency and safety as well as a major reduction in costs, while there is scope to reduce vessel turnaround times for large container ships by as much as 30 percent, DP World suggests.
According to Dr. Mathias Dobner, chief executive of the joint venture: “This new container handling technology allows cities to use their expensive and sensitive land and waterfront areas more effectively. Our system will significantly increase the productivity of handling ships on the quay and will greatly improve the financial performance of container ports, and well as their overall appearance.”