Peel Ports’ £100m investment in ‘cranes with brains’ heralded as game-changing technology for 2015

The highly respected Raconteur section of The Times has recently published their list of top five technologies which will help to revolutionise the supply chain in 2015.

Alongside drones, warehouse automation, and 3D printing, the journalists at Raconteur selected Peel Ports’ £100m investment in state of the art cranes at the Port of Liverpool as one of the game-changing technologies for the year ahead.

This investment is being made as part of the overall £300m cost of the new deep-water dock, known as Liverpool2, which will allow 90% of the vessels sailing at sea, to call at Liverpool.

However, creating the UK’s most centrally located deep-water dock in itself is not enough.

In order to maximise the benefits of Liverpool2, Peel Ports also needs to invest in the entire infrastructure of the Port of Liverpool. This allows Peel Ports to make the journey from the manufacturer’s floor to the customer’s door as quick and cost-effective as possible.

To enable Peel Ports to unload these huge vessels as efficiently as possible the group has invested in dozens of cutting-edge cranes, including 22 CRMG’s (Cantilever Rail Mounted Gantry) cranes and eight STS (Ship to Shore) cranes.

These so-called “cranes with brains” eliminate human fatigue and increase efficiency by taking the shortest and safest path to the target container, approaching it at speed, and loading it into position with millimetre accuracy.

The dual side loading system being installed at Liverpool2 is unique in Europe and allows for a greater number of transfer points from the haulage vehicle to the container stack, allowing Peel Ports to optimise our service to customers.

In addition Peel Ports has invested £2m in creating an automated 13 lane AutoGate system for hauliers. As hauliers enter the Port of Liverpool to pick up the containers the new system will scan the vehicle, automatically capturing its details through optical character recognition. It will also read the licence plate of the vehicle and take a photograph of the driver.

Driver verification through ID Cards and Biometric verification confirms cargo assignment and then a few simple questions on a touch screen monitor grants automated access to the terminal. The AutoGate system will then inform the crane on the container terminal that unloading or loading can take place, before directing the driver to the correct location.

The semi-automated crane then places the container directly onto the truck meaning hauliers can enter the port and load or unload cargo, without ever having to leave their vehicles. The end result is a faster, safer more efficient service, which adds value to customer supply chains.

Having semi-automated cranes means a single supervisor can monitor six to eight cranes from a central control room – a considerable reduction in non-value added costs and a massive boost in productivity per operator. In addition a £7m investment in a state of the art scheduling system predicts workflows and allows Peel Ports to optimise the usage of container handling equipment.

Investing in game-changing technology will help to make Liverpool the port of choice for shipping lines and feeder services looking to access the North of England, Midlands, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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