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NEVER DONE BEFORE WITH 28 STRADDLE CARRIERS

With approximately sixteen million container movements per year, the port of Rotterdam is the gateway to Europe. Hutchison Ports Delta II (formerly known as APM Terminals Rotterdam) is based here and is part of Hutchison Ports’ global port and terminal network, which includes 54 ports and terminals in 25 countries.

A worldwide first! Life-extending maintenance applied to 28 straddle carriers

With approximately sixteen million container movements per year, the port of Rotterdam is the gateway to Europe. Hutchison Ports Delta II (formerly known as APM Terminals Rotterdam) is based here and is part of Hutchison Ports’ global port and terminal network, which includes 54 ports and terminals in 25 countries.

They recently completed a refurbishment project in which the lower beam of 28 straddle carriers was replaced. Peinemann provided support for the implementation of this significant maintenance project.

This project is distinctive as it is the first time that a similar major maintenance has been carried out on end-of-life straddle carriers worldwide, thereby extending their lifespan for several years.

We discussed the project with Eduard Reitsema (General Manager of Technical Services), Ruben Bueving (Coordinator of Technical Services Projects), and Dennis van der Hammen (Replacement Coordinator of the Refurbishment Project).

Eduard explains that there was a change in shareholders at the end of 2021. “We discussed with the new shareholder a plan to optimize our straddle carrier fleet, which had already run many operational hours. This led to the creation of the refurbishment project. Our machines were about 15 to 20 years old, and as a technical service, we have extended knowledge and experience with these vehicles.

The question was: What should we do to make them last longer?

Then we looked into that. In doing so, we looked at the carrier’s weaknesses. This turned out to be the support beam, also known as the body. Here are the first weak spots that cause problems, such as equipment failure that causes diesel leaks and downtime. We decided that Rubens team of mechanics should replace the beams that carry the cargo”.

“Replacing the beam seemed like a good idea, but the next question was: How should we proceed? 

At that precise moment, Peinemann joined our team and we forged a cohesive unit. We started by dismantling one carrier, removing the legs, and salvaging the body for spare parts. We carefully examined the challenges we would face during this step. By studying the test results, we devised a plan for constructing frames capable of supporting the body. This made a set of parts that can be swapped out.”

Dennis adds, “That was a challenge and quite exciting. These carriers stand at a height of 14.5 meters. The initial step involved replacing parts, but the next step required the carriers to perform at least as well as before. In fact, they needed to perform even better.”

Eduard continues: “Initially, we considered hiring mobile cranes, but eventually, we used our quay cranes for the lifting operations. These quay cranes were designed for different things, not specifically for the plan we were going to use.

Therefore, we collaborated with Peinemann to create a comprehensive lifting plan and assess all possible risks. We learned a great deal from each other throughout this project, particularly through our daily discussions on this highly complex problem and the engineering work involved.

The next step was to make it happen. For this, we had to find a reliable partner we could trust. Ruben took the lead and managed all the logistical aspects.”

Ruben says, “I’m happy to say, I didn’t lose any sleep over it, but the first day of lifting was pretty exciting. We planned everything carefully. The group included eight individuals, including three mechanics from Peinemann and three from our team, as well as myself and Dennis”.

“We had the lifting plan and the roadmap in place, and everything needed to synchronize perfectly. Converting the first five carriers was a thrill, but once we got over that, everything went well, and everyone was on board”.

“The open lines of communication with Peinemann were very appreciated. The tools were delivered quickly and efficiently, and if there were any issues, Peinemann’s team members were already on hand, ready to assist”. “Indeed,” says Eduard, “their speed, flexibility, and collaborative approach are commendable. They also quickly grasp our challenges and can adapt.”

Dennis shows his satisfaction with the team’s performance on the ground. “The added value lay in their proactive mindset, effectively managing critical moments, and consistently thinking ahead about the next steps and specific requirements. Eventually, we developed trust without encountering any major issues, and our trust remained intact throughout the nearly two-year project duration. I believe that’s remarkable.”

Eduard continues: “If you zoom in on the body, you’ll notice dozens of components. It was truly impressive to witness how these individuals managed all that work.” Ruben responds: “Correct, we gained valuable experience throughout the project. The first carrier took about 11 to 12 hours on the lifting day. However, as we progressed, we were able to restore a carrier within just 1.5 hours. We were still cleaning up, but the carrier was already back on its feet. It was a truly well-coordinated operation.”

"Your strength lies in your speed, flexibility, and willingness to collaborate."

Eduard Reitsema

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