PORT OF HELSINGBORG, SWEDEN
More than 350,000 TEU pass through the Port of Helsingborg every year. The Port’s sea, road and rail operations are linked together by thirteen Konecranes reach stackers and a Konecranes fork lift truck.
In 1726 the Port of Helsingborg was just a 200-meter wooden pier stretching out into the sound between Sweden and Denmark. Today it handles 8.4 million tons of cargo per year and 8.3 million ferry passengers. While cargo and passenger transport are important parts of its business, the Port of Helsingborg prides itself on being a container specialist. This is confirmed by the number of Konecranes reach stackers that ply the dock area, linking sea, road and rail transport together.
“It’s a pretty big machine, but it’s incredibly smooth and easy to operate. It turns on a three-penny bit and this is the most important thing from my point of view,” says Göran Gustafsson who drives an SMV 4545 CBX5 reach stacker. Based in the port’s Combi terminal, Gustafsson has been one of the drivers of this 110-ton machine since it was new in 2005. The Combi terminal is an area covering 40,000 m2 with 3 km of railway track where about 50,000 containers and trailers are shifted between road and rail every year. With a lifting capacity of 45 tons up to three tracks away, this reach stacker has logged over 18,000 operating hours and made more than 235,000 lifts.
“On the railway side we must be able to reach across one track and pick up something from the one behind. This demands sturdy equipment,” says Operations Manager Carl-Gustaf Nordin. Four reach stackers are assigned to the Combi terminal. They are all equipped with a combination attachment on the spreader, so they can handle both containers and trailers. Two of the machines feature a movable cabin – moved by hydraulics, basically a small elevator – that gives the operator extra visibility when needed. And if that isn’t enough, they are also equipped with a special unit for remote control. “The operator can stand beside the reach stacker and control the boom from there. You don’t need an extra helper when you pick up a trailer from the first track,” says Nordin.
The Port of Helsingborg has a total of thirteen Konecranes reach stackers. Nine of them are used mainly to load and unload trucks at the sea terminals, serving the tracked and mobile container cranes there. The Port’s first Konecranes reach stacker was an SMV 4531 TA5, purchased in 2002. “Konecranes has become a business partner of ours. We cooperate very closely on these machines,” says Mats Fernebrand, Service and Maintenance Manager. This involves continuous development of the features on existing machines, as well as feedback for the development of new models. Konecranes also trains the Port’s own service technicians and gives occasional support during work peaks.
Fernebrand thinks it can be difficult to distinguish between premium lift truck suppliers if one looks only at technology. But there is one thing that definitely makes Konecranes a different lift truck supplier from the rest. He says he can call almost anybody in the company, knowing that the person answering will always do his or her best to help. “They are outstanding when it comes to service and spare parts. If an item is not in stock they will borrow one from the assembly line if they have to. This saves us a lot of money,” says Fernebrand.
It’s his job to ensure that the Port of Helsingborg’s equipment is ready to meet demand from shipping and forwarding companies. More than 1,500 freighters call at the port every year, moving approximately 180,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit), while an additional 170,000 TEU pass by road and rail. There is no room for unplanned downtime.
The Port of Helsingborg also handles goods that aren’t containerized, so other lift trucks are needed. The port uses a 16-ton Konecranes fork lift truck, type SMV 16-1200B, to handle containers that arrive filled with rolls of steel plate. It takes them to a warehouse for later distribution. The fork lift truck was purchased in 2011 with a long list of options added to the basic specification. Most of the options are related to safety and the environment: a fire extinguishing system, an alcohol lock, a tire pressure monitor with Bluetooth and a rearview camera, for example. It also has a Scania diesel engine that complies with the European Union’s Stage IIIB limits for emissions of nitride oxides and particulate matter.