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Automated shuttle for augmented port performance


Objectives and content
Background problematic:
The evolution of the maritime transportation of
containers is favouring, due to technological
constraints, the ports with very high traffic volume,
because they are the only ones that are able to
economically justify, due to economy of scale, the
enormous investments in yard areas and machinery that are
currently required to grant the hourly productivities
that are requested by the Shipping Lines. The
consequence is a continuous ageing of the medium-sized
ports that are typically present in the European
scenario, that is, of the ports that, being located
inside the cities, cannot have enough possibilities of
expansion. The solution to make minor ports more
attractive is to develop innovative technological
solutions that allow to reach, even with the small space
available, quay performances that are better or equal
than those of the "hub ports". One of the main
inefficiencies of the current terminals is the transfer
of the containers from yard to quay crane and vice versa.
The reasons of this inefficiency are related to the use
of man-driven vehicles, within narrow lanes and with
inevitable bottleneck points, in which, without an
automatic computer control, the management of the jobs
and of the queues produces remarkably high inefficiencies
(the logistic problem is to manage a flow of 200
vehicles/hour within a quay that is 30 meters wide). An
electric vehicle, capable of moving with satisfying
speeds during the straight paths and smart enough to be
able to steer automatically, travelling on dedicated
overhead paths will be the right answer to the logistic
needs even when little space is available.
Project objectives:
To transfer the containers from the quay crane to the
stocking yard, by using the new logistic concept based on
overhead pathways, it is necessary to realise a new
shuttle vehicle that eliminates the common problems that
limit the efficiency of the current transfer systems
inside the terminals. This vehicle, fit to transport
containers with sizes ranging from ISO 20' to ISO 45' and
loads up to 40 tons will have performance equal to those
of the current heavy road type vehicles when used for
this job. Being a vehicle dedicated to the transfers
within defined closed loop paths, that run all around the
container stacks of the yard, it can be electrically
powered and it will utilise an hybrid, very simplified
driving system.
The research approach starts from the definition of the
operational requirement of the shuttle and the overhead
pathway "traffic controller" done incorporating the
expertise of the Port Operators partners and port
equipment manufacturer. Accordingly the respective
Partner with sound experience in the specific
technological field will research, design, manufacture
and test the main mechanotronic subassemblies. After the
subassemblies set-up a prototype will be assembled for
floor performance test and adjustment. The successful
tests of the prototype will enable the installation of
demonstrator in a port area.
The integrated system, of which this type of shuttle is
an essential part, will allow to reach, even in mediumvolume ports, quay performances competitive with those of
the hub ports, but with financial investments coherent
with the traffic volumes of these ports, and thus
economically profitable. These positive economic results
will be reached since the system allows an higher
utilisation rate of the yard spaces and because the
utilisation of the involved cranes and machinery of the
terminal is approximately doubled.
This will make it economically profitable for the Sea
Shipping Lines and for the Container Terminal Companies
to use ports with medium-sized volumes and user basins,
that represent today the majority of European ports and
that are generally in a difficult position in the market.
From the environmental point of view, the vehicle will
considerably reduce the atmospheric and acoustic
European dimension /consortium:
The consortium is composed by industrial Partners, SME,
Engineering Firms and Research Institutes having each one
a high and exclusive experience in the assigned
development field. The reason of forming the consortium,
facing a narrow window of time to market, is to reduce as
much as possible the duration of the technological
research phase.


Fantuzi -Reggiane SpA
Via Vasco Agosti 27
42100 Reggio Emilia

Participants (5)

Autorita Portuale di Trieste
Punto Franco Vecchio
34100 Trieste
HMA Powers Systems B.V.
Ringdijk 390
2983 GS Ridderkerk
2,Paseo J.m. Arizmendiarrieta 2
20500 Mondragon
Sciro Electra Srl
Via Fieschi 25/6A
16121 Genova
Centre D'etude De Saclay
91192 Gif Sur Yvette