APM Terminals and the Port of Rotterdam have joined forces
in a research and development agreement that hopes to produce
a 'quantum leap' in how container ports worldwide can
become greener and more efficient in handling the boom in
The five-year global programme will seek to improve 'port
productivity and efficiency, land utilisation, environmental
sensitivity and public awareness of the container terminal
industry' - the companies said in a joint statement.
APM Terminals vice-president John Verschelden said - "A quantum
leap is needed in the container terminal industry. Our customers'
ships are becoming bigger, the speed of the ships has increased,
the fuel efficiency is better and their environmental performance
"And what has been our response? - a deep quay-wall or bigger
outreach for the cranes. The container terminal industry has
not yet made the amount of progress that is needed."
Mr Verschelden said that container terminals tended to "function
in isolation" within many ports, although - as in Rotterdam
- there are examples of close co-operation with the port authority.
Rotterdam Port Authority chief executive Hans Smits said
- "Globalisation and economic growth generate a structural
increase in goods transport. Our aim asa port authority is
to make sure that this is facilitated within our port by increasing
the productivity of existing terminals, by making new ones
very efficient and, at the same time, increase the sustainability
of logistics - because economic growth and sustainability
must go hand-in-hand."
Environmental issues - in particular, carbon footprints for
terminals handling equipment and inland supply chains - will
play an increasingly important role at container ports in
Mr Verschelden added - "We have already seen a demand for
more environmentally friendly terminals - using less diesel
and more electrically operated equipment - as well as the
call for greater use of barge and rail, instead of trucks."
Other issues under consideration will be reduction in dwell
times for container vessels and improved information exchange
along the supply chain.
Mr Verschelden highlighted the Port of Rotterdam's environmental
requirements written into the concession for the Maasvlakte
2 container terminal development - set for completion in 2014
- and launching what the partners describe as "a new generation
of eco-friendly ports".
He said - "There is less land available for port developments
worldwide and so we have to make the best possible use of
what we have. Rotterdam has made it very clear that Maasvlakte
2 is not just about a plot of land and quay lengths, but it
is also about sustainability and the environment.
"The concession will run for a good many years - but, do
you really want to build a 21st century container terminal
using 20th century technology?"