COFASTRANS can deliver the step change in cargo handling performance necessary to achieve efficient shipment of containers. COFASTRANS accomplishes this by positioning the ship, which is the biggest and most valuable element in the overall terminal delivery system, at the heart of the central working area. This is surrounded by port operations with direct access to the shoreside container stacks on both sides of the ship, thus giving direct access to the quayside with twice the area available for landing containers. This compares with the conventional arrangement where vessels are at the periphery and restricted to access over only one side. This arrangement provides the following benefits.

Cargo is transferred over both sides of the ship, rather than just one. This significantly reduces quayside congestion, as the volumes of containers on each quayside are halved, allowing greater handling efficiency. The lifting hooks generally take containers from the near side of the vessel, travelling much shorter distances. This saves time, and enables lower hook speeds, reducing the maintenance requirement.

Double the number of lifting hooks can be placed over the container ship when compared to a conventional system. Each COFASTRANS portal crane has 4 lifting hooks, running on 2 beams and operating simultaneously. Conventional Ship-to-Shore cranes contain just one hook, and the development of tandem-lift systems is equally applicable to portal cranes. It is expected that 3 or 4 COFASTRANS cranes will be deployed on a given berth, compared with a maximum of 8 conventional cranes. As such, COFASTRANS can place 16 hooks above the vessel, while the conventional approach is limited to 8. This enables a significantly higher loading rate, while placing less strain on the machinery.

Placing the ship at the heart of the terminal reduces land requirements. COFASTRANS berths can handle more cargo within a shorter coastal strip, enabling expansion where sufficient coastline may not be available. Conventional straight line berths can result in long and narrow quaysides along the water’s edge. Transfer of containers and servicing of vessels over this great length becomes more time consuming and challenging as new berths are added.

The new portal cranes are comparable in size to the existing ship-to-shore gantry cranes, but more structurally efficient and robust. They require lower volumes of materials, resulting in lower construction costs per hook. Furthermore, conventional cantilever cranes need additional weight to guarantee their stability. COFASTRANS cranes will be lighter, transferring less loads into the quayside and reducing material requirements. The more efficient design also enables the hooks to be run at lower speeds, reducing energy and maintenance requirements, and extending the crane’s lifespan.

These benefits will be felt throughout the industry. Port operators will be able to handle vessels at a faster rate, increasing their profitability and attractiveness to shipping lines. Ships will spend less time in port, allowing their operators to construct fewer vessels or sail more slowly, reducing costs and carbon emissions. Consumers will gain from faster handling times, and lower associated costs.