With its modern berths, deep channels and enviable container capacity Brisbane is set to benefit from a number of policy, investment and development opportunities. The Port of Brisbane is the largest port in Queensland and presently the fastest growing port in Australia. Mark Hulme*, Director and General Manager of DP World Brisbane joins us to discuss how the organisation is catering for future growth by expanding the Brisbane terminal through the development of new yard area and semi-automation.
It’s been an exciting year for DP World’s Brisbane site as it continues the process of semi-automation. What differences can your customers expect from the change of mode at the terminal?
DP World Australia has invested $250 million in the development of a world class semi-automated terminal in Brisbane.
This investment is focused on the growing needs of DP World’s customers which is seeing Brisbane’s operating mode adopt the latest in stevedoring technology with Automated Stacking Crane (ASC) operations and Automated Terminal Operating Systems.
It is the company’s single largest expenditure to date in Australia.
Comprising of eight modules, the newly expanded facility will drive consistent operational performance and boost productivity, benefitting customers and the broader supply chain.
Automation technology will also deliver significant benefits to customers in the transport industry including:
- greater flexibility for the collection and drop off of containers
- improved IT systems to enable transport companies to locate the position of containers online, allowing for improved servicing and turnaround of trucks once inside the terminal
- improved access to vehicle booking systems
What was the rationale for opting on the technology that you did?
DP World has been carefully planning the expansion of our Brisbane operations for several years, in cooperation with the Port of Brisbane.
It has been moving towards automation in Brisbane to increase efficiencies, in preparation for the expected increase in container volume demand over the next 20 years and to continue providing a competitive service to our customers.
By developing a new yard area, DP World is using a combination of automatic stacking cranes that interact with shuttle carriers to maximise terminal capacity and improve operational efﬁciency. The terminal will operate with 14 Kalmar shuttle carriers and 14 Kalmar ASCs.
What else is planned as part of the $250m Brisbane terminal expansion?
As at October 2013, the project is in its final stages of commissioning:
- Commissioning of the final six Automatic Stacking Cranes, eight have already been erected on site
- Civil works are due to be completed by October, comprising
- newly paved terminal area,
- construction of ASC Modules 1 to 8
- Rail and Track system for the ASCs
- New roundabout on port drive
- SN4 Terminal Operating System installed
- Reefer Towers erected, catering for 800 refrigerated containers at any one time
- Installation of sophisticated Gate exits and Gate Entry and truck handling systems have been completed
- The new Truck exit from the terminal will comprise an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) building, two ‘Weigh in Motion’ weighbridges, AQIS inspection area and AQIS office
- Systems testing (Dry Run) was completed in September
- Virtually testing systems, not physical
- Live Equipment testing November
- Go Live December
- First ship to be serviced by the terminal in its semi automated mode will be by end of 2013
What have been some of the project management challenges, especially given that most of the construction for the new facility has occurred on-site?
A major challenge for the project has been ensuring that during the construction phase that we maintain our waterside and landside performance in Brisbane.
DP World has invested significant time in careful planning of the construction phases to ensure our customers are unaffected by the development and our operations continue to run smoothly.
We are still servicing our customers, handling thousands of containers per week, as the backdrop of construction continues.
Despite the benefits of automation and modern berths, the waterfront can still be a challenging workplace. What impact will automation have on your Brisbane workforce?
This redevelopment will see DP World Brisbane significantly increase existing yard capacity and operate one of the most safe & efficient semi automated facilities in the world.
The company’s technology will also incorporate leading safety practices, and is designed to meet or exceed Australian safety standards. DP World’s commitment to safety is reinforced by our $1 million investment in the development of a state-of-the-art simulator – the first of its kind in Australia – to train employees in using the equipment ahead of implementing the new technology.
Employees operate the simulator in a virtual space, which also replicates a full range of weather scenarios and operating conditions on the wharves, reducing the chance of injury or damage to equipment. DP World’s investment in the world-leading technology will improve safety and ensure a highly efficient and competitive terminal.
A third stevedore arrived in Brisbane earlier this year. Do you think there’s enough capacity for this extra competition?
Our automated terminal, with its capacity beyond 850,000 TEUs, will position the Port of Brisbane as one of the most modern, state-of-the-art ports in the world.
Further expansion is planned to keep pace with customer demand.
*Mark will provide an update on the Brisbane Container Terminal Redevelopment Project on Wednesday 23 October 2013 as part of the Queensland Transport Infrastructure Summit in Brisbane.