Peel Ports introduces ‘virtual’ crane operations at port of Liverpool

£500k investment in technology set to deliver world class operator training

In anticipation of the arrival of five of the world’s largest cranes at the Port of Liverpool in the autumn, Peel Ports has introduced a state-of-the-art ‘virtual’ training simulator on site, designed to ensure all operators are ready to manoeuvre the giant structures from Day One of installation.

Peel Ports has been working closely with ABB, a global leader in automation, to produce a customised, high-tech training simulator tailored to interactively test the abilities and skills of drivers by presenting them with realistic, operating scenarios. The Company has invested over £500,000 in developing the simulator and the associated software.

The crane simulator reproduces the equipment layouts and behavioural movements of the actual Ship-To-Shore (STS) and semi-automated Cantilever Rail Mounted Gantry cranes (CRMG) which have been manufactured by Zhenhua Port Machinery Company (ZPMC) and are the tallest cranes built by the Chinese manufacturer to date.

The custom-designed software package on the simulator incorporates highly visual, real-life landscape graphics depicting the Liverpool skyline, including the iconic Liver Building and the river Mersey.

Khalid Mahdy, Training Officer at Liverpool2, said

“Our crane operators will receive unrivalled training opportunities in how to manoeuvre and control these giant pieces of equipment and become familiar with the controls well before they are actually installed.

They will also be able to practice problem-solving in a safe and controlled environment, as scenarios cover incidents, equipment failures and extreme weather conditions. At Peel Ports, we are committed to a comprehensive health and safety programme which ensures our employees are able to develop their skillsets to the highest level of expertise.”

David Huck, Port Director, added:

"Peel Ports are committed to providing the best facilities and opportunities available in the training of our employees and workforce partners. We fully recognise the importance of a highly-skilled and competent workforce to the continued success and growth of the business.

We are continuing to make significant investments in the latest phase of infrastructure during 2015, including the Navis N4 Terminal Operating System (TOS) and 10-lane AutoGates. Our investment in advanced driver simulators will further benefit our customers through improvements to operational efficiency as we reach the next phase of construction for Liverpool2 These investments will make Liverpool2 one of the most operationally efficient and modern terminals in Europe.”

The fleet of STS and CRMG cranes are part of the £300 million investment programme by Peel Ports to expand and develop the existing Port of Liverpool which will see Liverpool2, as it is called, become the UK’s largest transatlantic deep-sea port and container terminal.

Once completed in late 2015, it will be able to accommodate most of the world’s current fleet of container vessel types and will offer shipping lines a unique opportunity to connect ships of up to 13,500 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) directly to the heart of the UK.

The cranes will be capable of handling two 380m vessels simultaneously and ultimately will have a capacity of over one million TEU. With semi-automated remote-controlled operation, the cranes will reduce the time taken to transfer containers from ship to road or rail. They will also have the ability to operate at speeds in excess of 30mph and wind speeds of up to 55mph (88kmph).


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