Ports in Germany and the Netherlands are upgrading ship-to-shore cranes to handle the next generation of ultra-large container ships
While the number of vessels calling at the ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven have fallen, the size of the container ships themselves over the last four years has increased by 14%. Offloading containers efficiently from these next-generation, 366-m behemoths, requires some of the largest ship-to-shore (STS) cranes ever built.
Those ultra-large container ships (ULCSs) calling at the North Sea Terminal Bremerhaven (NTB), will now have the benefit of four new Liebherr STS container cranes, delivered in January. The port now has 10 Liebherr STS cranes.
With a safe working load (SWL) of 75 tonnes, these new cranes are identical to those previously supplied, with an outreach of 73 m, a span of 30.48 m and a backreach of 25 m. Designed to work vessels with 25 containers across and up to 10 high on deck, the cranes will allow NTB to handle future generations of ULCSs.
As well as being among the largest, the STS cranes incorporate ‘smart’ technology for efficiency and safety. Notably, each crane features Liebherr Automation Systems to facilitate semi-automatic moves, with manual intervention only required when operating below a predefined safe height. The port operates straddle carriers on the landside and the cranes are equipped with a yard monitoring system, which scans the operational area for obstacles, hazards or straddle carriers, and will allow placement of the container at the target position only when it is safe to do so.
“STS cranes incorporate ‘smart’ technology for efficiency and safety”
Innovative straddle carrier lane covers open only over the active lane, providing protection for those on the ground. A stack and vessel anti-collision, in addition to a vessel drift compensation system, provides safety when operating. Crane-to-crane and crane-to-ship, laser anti-collision systems provide further safety when the crane is travelling or booming down.
Commenting on the new cranes, NTB managing director Christian Lankenau, said: “We have invested in these large state-of-the-art cranes, not only for the present, but also for the future and they are a key part of our growth and expansion plans.”
One of the busiest European container terminals, NTB handles volume of more than 3M TEU annually.
Following up on its NTB success, Liebherr Container Cranes secured an order for two STS cranes from Antwerp Container Terminal (ACOT), a member of the SEA-invest Group. The order follows a delivery of an identical STS crane to ACOT in 2020.
When it acquired Independent Maritime Terminal in 2016, SEA-invest, one of the world’s largest terminal operators, laid the groundwork for what was to become Antwerp Container Terminal. Since its inauguration, ACOT has continued to grow and the new Liebherr machines will complement the older STS cranes that came with the initial purchase of the terminal.
The Liebherr STS cranes have an outreach of 60 m, a span of 30 m, a backreach of 25 m, a lift height over rail of 46 m and an SWL of 65 tonnes under twin lift spreader. A unique feature of the cranes is that they have offset primary rocking beams to allow flexibility in future operations and can operate on quays with a span of 30.48 m as well as 30 m. The new cranes will sit on the 900-m long deep-water berth, allowing ACOT to handle super-post-panamax vessels with up to 22 rows across the deck.