Europe’s biggest port freight and logistics show, TOC (Terminal Operators Conference) Europe 2023, wrapped up in Rotterdam last week, attracting interest from businesses and individuals from across all aspects of the ports and terminals sector.
Organisers are yet to release visitor statistics, but event director Paul Holloway says: “The buzz around TOC Europe 2023 has been amazing, from visitors, exhibitors, speakers and sponsors. The post-COVID ‘bounce’ was once again evident in Rotterdam, as our industry continues to display a great appetite for a content-driven event offering significant networking opportunities.”
Sustainability was a strong theme, reflected in the address from DP World’s regional CIO and head of IT – Europe, Que Tran, who called on all in the industry to work together to achieve a zero-emission supply chain. While driven by automation and technology, including digitization of hitherto manual or mechanical processes, Tran believes that true sustainability can only be achieved by focusing on solutions that are at the same time smart and secure.
Hanna Stelzel, head of port and supply chain performance at Port of Rotterdam, discussed a ‘green and digital corridor’ between Rotterdam and Singapore as part of her organisation’s efforts to eliminate carbon not only from its local operations. “We are at the beginning of a long journey, and the future requires a lot of effort from all of us,” she said.
One of the event highlights was the return of the Safety Village in collaboration with TT Club and ICHCA International.
Mike Yarwood, managing director, loss prevention at TT Club Mutual Insurance, noted that the safety zone was packed, with standing room only at the opening session which looked at collision risks in terminal operations.
Speaker Andrew Baird, chief operating officer at LogChain, explained how his company’s data platform can enhance safety by enabling a seamless flow of information and real-time visibility into logistics operations.
“One of our main objectives is to reduce risk and prevent loss in the supply chain, and our digital platform achieves this by offering a transparent and immutable record of logistics activities. It ensures that all roles are fulfilled, and compliance is maintained throughout the entire journey,” he noted.
Among the trade show exhibitors, Kalmar introduced a range of new sustainability options for its eco-efficient electric reachstacker.
Kalmar customers now have the option of having their electric reachstacker constructed with 47% SSAB Zero steel, which is made from recycled steel and produced using fossil-free electricity and biogas.
In addition, customers have the option to replace standard oil with PANOLIN biodegradable hydraulic oil and extend tyre lifetime through eco driver training and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Kalmar is also introducing a new emission-reducing counterweight made from unprocessed naturally heavy material to replace the standard cast-iron counterweight.
Mette Kjems Bærentzen, Kalmar’s head of sustainability, says: “In today’s world, businesses need to actively find ways to reduce their CO2 emissions, and going electric is one of the best ways to cut your carbon footprint and prepare for a low-carbon future. We are constantly seeking new ways to improve the sustainability of our cargo-handling solutions, and these new options provide customers with even more ways to address the growing need to cut their carbon footprint with equipment that is not only more sustainable to operate but also constructed in a sustainable manner.”
Also chasing the green market, Hyster revealed a zero-emission terminal tractor it is developing with Capacity Trucks. The company also shared updates on its hydrogen and lithium ion-powered container handlers.
Jan-Willem van den Brand, director global market development at Hyster, says “bringing ‘Clean Power that Means Business’ to ports is about understanding the whole application, and its challenges, to provide solutions that support sustainability goals and also meet performance and productivity needs of the operation”.
“Electrification is not just about buying a battery-powered truck; there are also considerations that must be made around infrastructure,” according to van den Brand. “For instance, we know how important standardised charging is for ports that are aiming to switch to a completely electric fleet, so the Hyster equipment we are developing aims to feature CCS (Common Charging System) capability across the range. This could help make the transition to zero-emission equipment easier, while supporting scheduled and opportunity charging in operations.”
Sustainability was also a key theme for Konecranes. The manufacturer’s participation included a presentation by Mikko Lepistö, SVP Solutions, on how port sustainability can benefit from automation and when it makes sense.
The Konecranes booth attracted strong interest, with visitors getting an understanding of a number of solutions to enhance productivity and sustainability.
Outside the main entrance of the exhibition centre, Konecranes' electric E-VER forklift with the latest eco-efficient technology also drew crowds. “Lift truck technology is constantly advancing,” says Patrik Lundbäck, vice president, sales and distribution, Lift Trucks, Konecranes. “Innovations and upgrades improve the safety, productivity and provide our customers with an ever-expanding range of options. Our aim is to help them to build a reliable, high-performance lift truck fleet for the specific needs of their own worlds.”
Sany Europe displayed its range of mobile port machinery, including its new fully electric reachstacker, material handlers, empty container handlers, heavy duty forklifts and harbour cranes.
Jürgen Keller, product manager at Sany Europe, says: “Many customers are aware they need to change their machinery purchases quickly if they are to significantly reduce CO2 emissions across their fleet by 2030 and comply with EU requirements for reduced emissions.”
Sany was keen to share all its options, including its hybrid reachstacker with a combustion engine and hydro-pneumatic drive which can reduce emissions by around 20%.
Another ‘green’ solution is the use of biofuels, and the manufacturer was quick to stress that all its mobile port machinery that is equipped with a Stage V engine can run on biofuels in addition to conventional fuels.
Systems and parts
The cranes team from industrial giant Siemans showcased digitalization's impact on port terminals. Remote control operation and training with digital twins were the highlight, together with a presentation from sales head Gerhard Fischer at the main stage, talking about how to optimise terminal operations with a standardised operational language.
Sustainable infrastructure, power grid automation and efficient terminal operations were also big topics, according to the company.
For parts distributor TVH, the show was an opportunity to show off its extensive range of equipment parts and accessories for heavy forklifts, reachstackers and container handlers from all the major manufacturers, including CVS Ferrari, Fantuzzi, Hyster, Kalmar, Linde, Sany, Konecranes, Terex and others.
Instead of filling the booth with physical parts, TVH used holograms to depict its products.
Like other exhibitors, TVH staff on the booth noted that automation and sustainability were hot topics. “The electrification of equipment is a very important feature. Also fleet management is very crucial. Monitoring the equipment via apps and other smart software can result in important cost-cutting for the operators and service providers,” a company official told Forkliftaction News.