Testing the Way to Real Sustainability in Ports


Freight transport and its associated logistic infrastructures are essential to keep the European Union (EU) in the leading position of world developed areas. The impact of this strategic sector in the quality of life of European citizens and in the EU competitiveness concerning the global economy is definitive. For these reasons, promoting the efficiency, integration and sustainability of freight transport and its multi-modal interfaces is a fundamental issue.

GREENCRANES aims at testing LNG and electricity powered Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs), reach stackers powered with eco-fuels and IT energy monitoring tools in existing container terminals. Whilst nowadays new green-field container terminals can be equipped with electric RTGs and other type of eco-efficient equipment, the sad reality is that there is no previous experience of an existing port container terminal adapting its diesel fuel consuming equipment for those cranes to be powered with less polluting fuels such as LNG (which reduces very significantly pollutant emissions) or using electricity.

Most existing PCTs cannot cease their activities and change the whole yard equipment and container terminal design in order to opt for new electric or LNG powered cranes and trucks. Therefore, the goal of GREENCRANES is to prove by testing prototypes through real pilot deployment that existing port machinery can be adapted to consume alternative fuels like LNG or be electrified, thus reducing significantly Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Technology is allowing now the evolution of the port-logistic industry towards a low-carbon emission operational model.

The challenge for the port-logistic industry is to make compatible this transition keeping or even improving the current performance and service quality levels. Investment cost is also a key aspect to address, especially in the current global economic situation.


Green Technologies and Eco-Efficient Alternatives for Cranes and Operations at Port Container Terminals – GREENCRANES aims to study and define methods and measures to describe PCTs’ energy profiles, analyse different eco-efficient technologies to reduce PCTs’ GHG emissions whilst increasing their productivity, carry out pilot deployments of different potential solutions, extract relevant results from the pilot actions to be disseminated to as many PCTs as possible and define standards that support the swift investment in these technologies across Europe.

The Action will support the pilot deployment of new technologies and alternative fuels (LNG and Euro 5/TIER 4 Diesel amongst other) thus contributing to sustainable freight transport practices. Only new technologies that have already been thoroughly researched but never tested in real life in existing PCTs will be analysed and piloted, with the objective of testing them and providing results by the end of 2013 that will be disseminated extensively (as one of the problems why existing PCTs are not investing in these technologies nowadays is precisely the lack of real life experiments and results from real pilots and implementations). The final objective is to enable PCTs’ managers and investors, policy-makers, EU citizens and industry to understand and decide which technologies generate the best socio-economic value and have the highest potential for rapid deployment across the EU.

Intending to guarantee quick deployment at EU level, particular attention will be given to definition of standards that support the swift creation of critical mass in the EU. It is worth mentioning that the research phase of the technologies that will be piloted has already been completed but these solutions have not been tested nor implemented in existing (not new greenfield terminals) PCTs. Partners of the consortium such as Konecranes and ABB (leader companies in port equipment manufacturing) have already carried out extensive research on the technologies proposed but no deployment has taken place so far in existing PCTs. Indeed, PCT managers consulted and the Noatum Ports group (partner of the project) reveal that the main reason for them not to invest in these technologies in their terminals is the lack of real life pilots. For existing PCTs to invest in these solutions, having access to pilot results that prove the so-far only theoretical results obtained is crucial.

The pilot actions in GREENCRANES constitute market sided innovation and will bridge the gap between research and operational test implementation, validating the technologies in three real life scenarios in the ports of Valencia, Livorno and Koper and therefore reducing the risk for subsequent large scale deployment in EU ports. The expected successful results in the pilot actions would provide valuable information and contribute decisively to many existing PCTs’ decision-making as they would have relevant proofs of how these technologies decrease their GHG emissions whilst reducing their energy bill and increasing their productivity.

GREENCRANES is focused on the technological and organizational dimensions of the activities and processes involved within existing Port Container Terminals (that are the immense majority of PCTs in Europe). The project will study energy reduction potentials both from a technical point of view through the integration of efficient equipment and from the organizational perspective through well-organised and optimised processes. For this purpose, GREENCRANES will develop a methodology on how to assess and improve eco-efficiency at PCTs, defining standards that could be used in most EU PCTs. This main objective is divided into four specific objectives:

1. Definition of Methods and Measures to Describe PCTs Energy Profiles and GHG Emissions Mapping.


2. Assessment of Technological and Organizational Process Improvement Opportunities for Port Container Stakeholders.


3. Design an Eco Efficient Indicators (EEI) System.


4. Test Prototypes and Pilot Deployment.


5. Definition of Standards and Policies Based on the Project Results to Ensure the Adoption of These Technologies by a Critical Mass of PCTs in the EU.

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