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Dubai-based DP World has announced that the first commercial deployment of its container storage system, Boxbay, will take place at its Pusan Newport Corp (PNC) facility in South Korea.
Boxbay FZCO was jointly developed by German metals and technology company SMS group, which originally designed a similar system to handle metal coils and refined it for port logistics.
Development of the port logistics version began in 2018, with a prototype at Dubai’s Jebel Ali port operational for more than two years, while testing the concept of automated and environmentally friendly container yard stacking.
Co-designer, Patrick Bol of DPW told The Loadstar: “I think of the system like it was a library with books weighing up to 35 tonnes.”
Mr Bol explained that with books stacked vertically, you do not have to lift any to get to the bottom of a pile. Boxbay works on the same principle, with each box stacked in an individual bay and stacking cranes, two to each row of the structure, can pick any container without making several moves.
Essentially, Boxbay is a steel structure with stacking cranes running between rows of container bays, similar to the storage units within a warehouse. However, because the steel frame holds the boxes, rather than stacking containers on top of each other, the storage system can be much higher, increasing the density of the yard.
According to Mr Bol a conventional yard, operated with rubber tyred gantry (RTGs) cranes, will store 750 teu/ha, but Boxbay will quadruple that to 3,000 teu/ha.
The system is fully automated, with trucks operating on the ocean side of the terminal tested as fully automated vehicles with lidar capability that allows the system to instantly see what is in front of the truck and to take appropriate action.
Boxbay is enclosed so is weatherproof and will have a bank of roof mounted solar panels that will provide at least some of the energy for the fully electric terminal, which includes around 10% of container slots with sockets for reefer containers. In addition, green cladding will reduce carbon pollution and help to manage temperatures inside the structure.
The system is expected to save significant space, allowing the terminal operator to build warehousing alongside where stuffing and unstuffing of containers and other services can be performed, with boxes delivered directly from the ship to the warehouse by automated systems.
While DP World will launch the system at PNC, it plans to also build Boxbay at Jebel Ali’s Terminal 4.