Optimised use of space through modern technology

Interview with Ingo Witte from the CTB Executive Board. For HHLA, space optimisation at its terminals is a central concern. Efficient infrastructure and suprastructure planning play a major role in this, as evidenced by the expansion programme at HHLA’s Burchardkai terminal (CTB). Ingo Witte, spokesperson of the CTB Executive Board, explains how sustainability and economic development go hand in hand due to modern technology.

The executives at Container Terminal Burchardkai (from left to right: Daniel Bremer, Jan Kolditz, Ingo Witte, Torsten Nehls, Rebecca Vick, Michael Cieslik)     

Mr. Witte, all efforts at CTB are focused on the space-saving design of port terminals. What particular challenges does HHLA face in terms of efficient land use?
As an urban port, Hamburg is limited in terms of space. Therefore, our strategic approach is to make the best use of existing space to meet our customers’ needs. A particular challenge lies in converting the existing facility during ongoing operations and converting the warehouse from a straddle carrier yard to a storage crane system with significantly optimised space.

How can the productivity of the Container Terminal Burchardkai be increased in concrete terms, and what approach is HHLA taking?
The container terminals are facing specific challenges, which are not only the result of a greater seaborne throughput volume or the current significantly increased container dwell times due to the disrupted logistics chains worldwide. Increased ship sizes are leading to significantly higher peak loads at the facilities. With the larger ships, significantly more containers have to be moved in a shorter time, meaning they are stored at the facility for shorter time periods. The ongoing expansion of the warehouse crane system was the decisive measure taken at Burchardkai to meet customer demands as a result of this development.

Container ships at Container Terminal Burchardkai

How can the use of warehouse crane systems contribute to efficiency?
The increase in efficiency is evident in many ways. Space efficiency is significantly boosted through storage consolidation. But also in terms of productivity, warehouse crane systems enable a more efficient use of resources compared to the straddle carrier. The warehouse crane system is also advantageous in terms of energy efficiency (electricity vs. diesel) and emissions.

How are warehouse crane systems more efficient?
With the warehouse crane system, the existing space can be used more efficiently resulting in greater capacity. While up to three containers have to be stacked on top of each other in the straddle carrier yard to leave sufficient space for the straddle carriers, up to six containers can be stacked on top of each other in a remarkably compact manner in the warehouse crane system. For the most part, the warehouse crane system is automated. This means that the majority of operations can take place around the clock without delays for breaks or shift changes. In addition, every “free minute” is used for the automated optimisation of the warehouse, so that storage/retrieval can then take place with high productivity.

"The use of electricity from renewable energy sources minimises greenhouse gas emissions and eliminates local pollutants, which is of increasing importance – especially as Hamburg is home to an urban port."

How do the new container gantry cranes at Burchardkai ensure a more efficient use of space?
The new container gantry cranes are a necessary prerequisite for handling large ships at CTB. Combined with the warehouse crane system, they ensure the most efficient use of the terminal. The ongoing measures to boost productivity and the technology used with the container gantry cranes (e.g. simultaneous transshipment of four standard containers) also facilitate higher levels of cargo handling at the berths. Handling is also compressed at the berths, boosting efficiency

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