New Technology Installed at OOCL’s Long Beach Container Terminal

cranes port of long beach
Cranes arriving at Middle Harbor, Image: Port of Long Beach

Giant new container handling cranes have recently arrived at the Long Beach Container Terminal in California, awkwardly perched aboard a Shanghai Zenhua Shipping (ZPMC) heavy lift vessel.

The new cranes have a maximum outreach of 226 feet which allows them to reach over container ships carrying containers 24 across (side by side).  They are large enough to support the 18,000 TEU Maersk Triple-E class containership which carries 23 rows of containers between the port and starboard side of the ship.

Lee Peterson, spokesperson from the Port of Long Beach notes, “the new ship to shore gantry cranes at Middle Harbor are the most technologically advanced in the U.S., taller and faster than other such cranes.”

Photo-(1)
Image courtesy Eric Fisher
ZPMC
Image courtesy Eric Fisher

With much larger vessels calling on the Port of Long Beach, environmentally-friendly means to efficiently move thousands and thousands of boxes are needed.

For the first time ever at a US container port, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) from Terex, such as the one pictured below, are now in operation.

The unmanned, software-controlled container transporters were ordered by OOCL in April 2013 for use at their container terminal in Long Beach.  These emission-less vehicles can carry container payloads of up to 70 tons back and forth from the stackyard with a positioning accuracy of +/- 25 mm. 

Photo-(2)
Image courtesy Eric Fisher

These port upgrades are part of a 9-year, $1.31 billion upgrade to the Long Beach Container Terminal at Middle Harbor. The terminal is owned by Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) which has a 40-year, $4.6 billion lease with the Port of Long Beach.

Planned improvements include renovating the existing Pier E container terminal, widen and deepen Slip 3 and creating one consolidated 304-acre container terminal including 55 acres of newly created land.  

Green initiatives include:

  • Shore power for ships
  • Expanded on-dock rail to shift more than 30 percent of the cargo shipments from trucks to trains
  • Cleaner yard equipment
  • Electric rail-mounted gantry (RMG) cranes
  • Green Flag Vessel Speed Reduction program requirements
  • Use of low-sulfur fuels for ships’ main and auxiliary engines
  • “Green building” (LEED) environmental standards
  • Storm water pollution prevention
  • Solar panels
  • Reuse or recycle waste materials such as concrete, steel, copper, and other materials during construction
middle harbor before image
Middle Harbor before, image: Port of Long Beach
port of long beach
Middle Harbor after, rendering courtesy Port of Long Beach

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor at the Journal of Commerce notes in an email that the automation at Middle Harbor will eliminate some of the traditional longshoremen work, however “OOCL brought Robert McEllrath, President International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and his folks to Hong Kong to witness the signing of the Middle Harbor lease, so the company has been upfront on what is happening. Also, the company is committed to training the ILWU to work any new jobs created by automation, such as M&R.”

That said however, the 2008 Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project contract gives employers the right to introduce any and all automation they are willing to invest in, notes Mongelluzzo.