News from Tilbury - strads, an app and a win

London Container Terminal has welcomed the arrival of their eight new Kalmar straddle carriers aboard the specialist vessel the BBC Nordland as part of the port’s growing container business.

The eight Kalmar ESC450W carriers have been made with specifications to match the 14 straddles acquired in 2013 to ensure consistency in the fleet. The new carriers have a 50tonne load carrying capacity with twin-lift spreaders capable of handling the full range of container sizes.

Three of the new straddles are part of LCT’s equipment replacement programme, with the other five going into service to meet the increase in container business at the terminal. The current fleet at the terminal is now 40 straddles.

Stuart Wallace, Divisional Director of Forth Ports (owners of LCT) said:

“It’s great to see our new straddles arrive this week. With this further investment we continue to secure Tilbury’s position as a key shipping and distribution location with unrivalled access to London and the South East of England.  LCT is one of the most efficient UK ports for handling containers, bringing benefits to our customers with improved turnover of vessels and road side trucks. Tilbury handles in excess of half a million containers each year, and is the only UK port truly servicing both deep sea and short sea customers. Customers also benefit from access to Europe’s largest portside chill store which NFT opened at the port this year.”

Over the past four years, LCT has invested in two Paceco ship-to-shore cranes, a Liebherr 550 mobile crane, 14 new Kalmar straddle carriers, a single reception gate covering both security and container processing, new cranes, a bespoke ICT system and surfacing work.  Forth Ports’ investment programme at London Container Terminal comes to around £20million in total. 

Separately, EMR, one of the world’s largest metal recycling companies has made a significant commitment to remaining in its existing Tilbury Dock facility. Not only has it just signed a new 25 year lease with the Port of Tilbury, it will be upgrading its facilities and investing around £3m in improved ship loading equipment.

The site plays an important role in EMR’s activities in the South East of England. It acts as an export hub for the company’s numerous depots around London and handles over 1 million tonnes of UK-produced scrap metal, mainly iron and steel, every year. The processed scrap metal, whose origin could be from end-of-life products as diverse as railway tracks to the steel from shredded cars, is loaded on to vessels that can carry up to 42,000 tonnes at a time and be transported to destinations as far away as India or Korea.

The environmental benefits of metal recycling are enormous and help to conserve the world’s scarce resources. Using recycled metal to produce new steel as opposed to it being made from new ore, saves 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne of steel produced. Today in excess of 30% of new steel is produced from recycled metal.

Bob Garwood, EMR’s UK CEO commented

“We are delighted that we will be continuing to export from Tilbury which is one of four deep sea export facilities we operate in the UK. The investment we are making in upgrading the facilities will help to ensure that the site is competitive and has the capacity to meet the needs of the group over the next 10 years”.

Peter Ward, Senior Asset Manager from the Port of Tilbury was also pleased that EMR had made the commitment to remain on the site, adding

“This announcement is great news for both EMR and the Port of Tilbury. We have a strong relationship with EMR and we are delighted that this will continue through this new lease agreement. This investment is a significant indicator of the position Tilbury has as a major deep sea port for the south east of the UK”.

And lastly, Tilbury’s London Container Terminal has this week launched the UK’s first fully integrated Vehicle Booking System (VBS) mobile app uniquely designed for the terminal’s hauliers.

LCT is the only container terminal in the UK that has a fully integrated and fully functional VBS app that allows hauliers to make bookings and check the status of a container remotely using a mobile app on their mobile phone. 

The app is available to download for free on App Stores for both iOS and Android devices and has been designed to be straightforward, allowing hauliers to create, view, move and cancel bookings quickly and efficiently whilst on the move using their smart phone. The app can also display the latest status of a container which allows hauliers to efficiently book the most appropriate time slots for their vehicles.

The technology platform behind the app is LCT’s bespoke VBS system which was launched in October 2015 replacing the legacy system at the terminal. The new system is a completely new development purposely designed for LCT’s customers’ needs. The system provides a noticeably different look and feel to that of the original system with a strong focus on ease of use, efficiency and improved status information.

Commenting on the development of the app, David Thomson, Group IT Project Manager at Forth Ports said:

“The mobile app development is a first for Forth Ports and we are very pleased with the result and the positive feedback we have received so far. We wanted to capture the opportunity to improve our service for our customers and we took the time to design the new VBS system to improve the ease of use and provide enhanced capabilities. The mobile app is a further extension to the new system similarly targeted to further improving our service offering to our hauliers, by providing them with efficient and easy to use capabilities whilst on the move.”

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