APM Terminals Rotterdam Maasvlakte I in the Netherlands has plans to enhance five of its existing post-Panamax cranes to a 23-container row reach to accommodate super-post-Panamax container ships.
The retrofitting involves engineering and software adjustments, which are expected to be completed in time for the arrival of Maersk’s fourth Triple E vessel, the Marie Maersk, on Dec. 6, as part of the weekly Asia/North Europe AE10 service. The Triple E vessels each have capacities of 18,000 20-foot-equivalent units. Maersk’s first Triple E vessel, the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller, paid its maiden call to APM Terminals Rotterdam on Aug. 16. The container line has received the first four Triple E vessels out of a total of 20 scheduled for delivery over the next two years.
Triple E vessels have containers stacked 23 rows wide across the deck, while post-Panamax cranes were constructed with a 22 container row wide reach. As a result, the booms of five of the 13 ship-to-shore cranes now in operation at APM Terminals Rotterdam Maasvlakte I are being extended for use on the mega-ships and will also use new operating procedures. APM Terminals also recently commissioned Kalmar to increase the operating height of four STS cranes for its operations in Algeciras, Spain.
The adjacent facility, APM Terminals Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte II site, being built on land reclaimed from the North Sea, is set to open in November 2014 with an initial annual throughput capacity of 2.7 million TEUs. The terminal will be equipped with eight remote-controlled super-Post Panamax cranes, each with a 25-container wide reach. APM Terminals and Rotterdam dock unions recently agreed on a labor contract covering the Maasvlakte 2 terminal.
APM Terminals Rotterdam handled 2.5 million TEUs in 2012, and is the top terminal in Europe as measured by productivity in crane moves per hour, with 92 with a vessel alongside, according to JOC’s list of the Top 50 World Container Ports.