High Bay Storage System Could ‘Revolutionize’ Container Handling in Ports

An international joint-venture involving Dubai-based DP World and industrial engineering specialists SMS Group has unveiled a new intelligent container storage system that the partners say could revolutionize the way that containers are handled in ports.

The system, known as the High Bay Storage system, was originally developed by SMS group subsidiary AMOVA for round the clock handling of metal coils weighing as much as 50 tons each. Now, the partners in the joint venture have adapted the technology to the port industry.

Instead of stacking containers directly on top of each other, as has been global standard practice for decades, the High Bay Storage system places each container in an individual rack compartment. In place of stacks, containers are stored in an eleven-story rack that can be as high as 50 meters, creating 200 percent more capacity than a conventional container terminal, or creating the same capacity in less than a third of the space.

With the design, each container can be accessed without having to move other containers, enabling 100 percent utilization in a terminal yard.

Partners in the joint venture say the system can bring big gains in speed, energy efficiency, safety and reduced costs, which are further cut by the ability to shorten the time taken to load and unload mega-ships by as much as 30 percent.

The joint venture is now seeking to have the first such system at Jebel Ali Terminal 4 in time for the Dubai Expo 2020 world fair.

“This new container handling technology allows cities to use their expensive and sensitive land and waterfront areas more effectively,” said Dr. Mathias Dobner, CEO of Joint-Venture.” Our system will significantly increase the productivity of handling ships on the quay. This means that quay walls can be shortened by a third. This disruptive innovation will greatly improve the financial performance of container ports, and well as their overall appearance.”