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Rotterdam is home to the world's first emissions-free container terminal

Battery-powered container logistics


Commissioned to design and construct four new battery exchange stations, Vollert is providing a key component that will help realize the world's first soot, CO2 and nitrogen oxide-free container terminal in the Maasvlakte II port area in Rotterdam. The operators have decided in favor of the environmentally-friendly, battery-powered container transporters from Terex Port Solutions. To ensure 24-hour operation, the 12-ton batteries are exchanged up to three times a day, depending on operating conditions.

Containers handled between the quay and container stack at the new APM Terminals Maasvlakte II terminal facilities are transported quietly, free of emissions, and in the absence of drivers thanks to the battery lift AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) provided by Terex Port Solutions. 62 AGVs assume full remote-controlled operation via a WLAN connection during the initial rollout phase and are powered by a 12-ton battery pack that is automatically removed from the vehicle in the battery exchange station, where it is recharged.

High-Bay Warehouse for Storing up to 114 Interchangeable Batteries

Vollert collaborated with Terex Port Solutions to design a system that would quickly exchange on-board vehicle batteries. What resulted was a high-bay warehouse equipped with a rack feeder and telescopic carriage. This configuration is unique because the system removes the discharged battery packs from the low-slung AGVs, then stores them in the high-bay warehouse without any manual intervention. The next step is to insert a fully recharged battery pack in the AGV, which is carried out by the rack feeder. In just five minutes, the AGV is fully operational again.

The batteries are recharged fully automatically in the Vollert battery exchange station. APM Terminals Maasvlakte II uses two exchange stations each with a storage capacity of 114 batteries in total. The high-bay warehouses have up to six levels that are serviced on one or both sides by a rack feeder. The stations can also be simultaneously approached at the front by two vehicles, depending on the design configuration. Final positioning also takes place fully automatically.

Proven Emissions-Free Container Handling

The system has already demonstrated impressive levels of availability and performance in summer and winter operation. At HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) in Hamburg, the first prototyps of the battery-powered AGVs from Terex Port Solutions have been in active use and serviced in a Vollert battery exchange station since May 2011. The vehicles further streamline operation, and the possibility to use electricity generated from renewable energy sources for the exchange station gives the facility an impeccable CO2 footprint.

Full-scale deployment is now underway in the new terminal in Rotterdam. To expand the port, which is the largest in Europe, 2,000 hectare of artificial land mass was created in the sea to acquire the additional logistics space desperately needed. The terminal operated by APM Terminals as part of the Maasvlakte II project started operation at the end of 2014. The official opening was celebrated in April 2015. With a total of more than 1 kilometer of quay wall and a draft measuring 20 meters, the initial expansion stage already gives the terminals the capacity to efficiently load and unload the largest super container ships currently being designed, which will be able to accommodate over 18,000 standard containers (TEU). Maasvlakte II terminal operated by APM Terminals has an estimated handling capacity of 2.7 million TEUs.