Handling at inland terminal operations
29 June 2018
Inland container terminals face many handling challenges. Here, Hyster Europe reveals practical solutions for overcoming common issues.
1. Handling containers on the second rail
“For inland terminals receiving and distributing containers on the rail network, picking from the second rail can be challenging when there is a high cube container on a railcar in the first rail position,” explains Mark Nailer, industry manager for Hyster Europe. “However, by giving direct visibility of 2nd rail containers and swap bodies we can help to reduce damage and provide greater efficiency.”
Handling equipment manufacturer Hyster has recently developed a new solution involving a ‘hinged’ elevating cabin for the Hyster RS46 ReachStacker which provides enhanced second rail visibility. This helps to boost efficiency, maintain timetables and make operations more productive with a lower cost for each container movement.
2. Moving empty container handlers in height restricted areas
Bridges or low hanging areas are commonly found in inland terminals and these can restrict the movement of an empty container handler where a typical mast height is more than 10m.
“We know that it is necessary for inland terminals to have the flexibility to move empty container handlers through restricted height areas,” says Mark. “With a closed height of just 5.4m we have developed a new 3-stage, tilt back mast option for the Hyster Empty Container Handler that provides this flexibility and is still capable of lifting containers up to 18.8m.”
3. High noise levels from container engagements
While container handling truck engines are quieter than ever before, one of the loudest actions in a container yard is the spreader landing on the empty container.
“With many inland terminals near to residential areas, high noise levels can result in reduced operating hours so as not to cause a disturbance,” says Mark. “With reduced hours, productivity and efficiency can be seriously impacted.”
Hyster Europe has recently introduced a soft-landing system to lower the sound emissions enabling many of its customers to negotiate longer working hours. By controlling the speed of the spreader landing the sound of container engagement can be minimised, further supported by additional wear pads at container contact points.
4. Poor double reefer handling efficiency
Until now, handling reefers with the refrigeration unit on the same side has caused an offset load. This means that the Empty Container Handler operator must frequently double handle containers with the units at opposite ends or handle each reefer on its own.
“To meet customer requirements, an important new Hyster product for inland terminals has been developed to enable double handling capabilities for 40ft reefers with the refrigeration units on the same side,” explains Mark. The new Hyster H11XM-ECD8 also has a capacity of up to 11-tonnes offering flexibility and productivity advantages, supporting terminals in reducing the cost per container moved.
5. Difficult access for repair, inspection and cleaning
Workshops for container inspection, maintenance and repair are commonplace in an inland terminal application. However, getting suitable access to the container in the right position to administer these tasks can be challenging.
Container workshops now have the option to conduct repairs and maintenance easily and efficiently by using a heavy-duty Hyster lift truck with a special container rotator attachment. This means that even a 40ft container can be moved into positions that make driving it into the workshop easier. By rotating the container lengthwise, it can be moved into a workshop even if there is not a wide doorway. The container rotator attachment can also simplify repairs by making containers accessible to standing repair engineers from many angles.
6. Switching between cargo types efficiently
Inland terminals don’t just handle containers, quite often stevedoring operations are also taking place.
“Having handling equipment with a front-end attachment that can be easily changed makes sense to avoid doubling up on trucks that otherwise will remain idle for long periods,” says Mark, explaining that a Hyster ReachStacker with the Multi Tool-Changer option allows operators to simply and conveniently switch from handling containers to cargo trailers, and on to metal coils with a C-hook.
For other bulky loads from a river or canal quayside, operators may need to switch from handling paper reels, to timber, to metal loads and so on.
“The updated Hyster H8-16XM lift trucks are designed to give exactly this flexibility,” says Mark. “There are quick disconnect hydraulic couplings to switch between clamps, forks and other attachments, with optimal visibility for the driver to the forks and load. For bulky loads prone to damage such as paper reels, the return to set tilt feature puts the reel down flat, reducing edge damage.”
7. Stuffing or unloading containers with heavy, awkward loads
The most convenient and efficient way to transport heavy or awkward loads out of a container is usually with a counterbalance lift truck. However, this often proves challenging in port-side intralogistics applications due to the restricted height of the container.
To help overcome this, lower cabin height options are now available for Hyster lift trucks handling loads up to 9-tonnes providing good visibility of a load and the operating area. Optional cameras and lighting can also be used further assist with quick and accurate operation inside containers or lorries.
8. Transfer time to the warehouse or on to transport
Speed and efficiency is time critical in port-side intralogistics operations, particularly where cross-docking involves unloading and loading curtain trailers. A 3-3.5T lift truck from the reliable Hyster Fortens range is ideal for these inland terminal activities.
Palletised goods can also be transferred more quickly by using multi pallet handler attachments. This method can save considerable time and reduce the number of trucks and drivers needed in certain applications. For example, most beverage loads are palletised at about 1 tonne and often multi pallet handlers (handling 2, 4 or 6 pallets) can be used.
9. Tight cross-docking turnaround times
A key factor for efficiency in inland logistics operations is keeping lorries on the road. Cross-docking operations help facilitate rapid turnaround but can present challenges for drivers working against the clock. Fast, efficient operations are essential.
Ideally suited to unloading a lorry at a warehouse dock, the Hyster RP2.0-2.5N Rider Pallet Truck can also be fitted with double length forks to help reduce cycle times. Rather than using a stand-on platform truck, for comfortable, efficient operation, the operator can sit or lean at the push of a button.
Likewise, a platform pallet truck, such as the Hyster P2.0S, can optimise vehicle loading and unloading operations. A compact chassis is key for manoeuvrability in busy loading bays, while speed control, the steering system and increased turning ratio of the tiller arm support efficient pallet transportation rates over short or long distances.
10. Effective asset management
“Inland terminals are often complex, multi-faceted operations with large fleets to manage,” says Mark. “To control costs and improve efficiency in inland terminals, fleet management and telematics systems can be used to great effect.”
Throughout June and July 2018, the Hyster Rhine Tour is taking place to show the capabilities of Hyster trucks in addressing the specific challenges of inland terminals. A selection of Hyster equipment will be transported on a barge to different events along the River Rhine, from the Netherlands, to France, Switzerland and Germany.
To learn more about the Hyster Rhine Tour, or for more information about the extensive range of inland terminal solutions from Hyster Europe to meet your specific application needs, contact a local Hyster distribution partner.