The need to bolster safety, productivity and efficiency in the port environment has come under the spotlight in recent times. This is as amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (Solas) have become more stringent to reduce any potential maritime risk.
As stated by Solas, one of the many ways the industry can mitigate any potential risk includes the weighing of containers, where shippers are to provide the verified gross mass of all packed containers, and those that fail to do so, will not have their containers loaded onto a ship.
Under the Solas amendments, there are two permissible methods for weighing. Method one requires the weighing of the container after it has been packed. Method two requires weighing all the cargo and contents of the container and adding those weights to the container’s tare weight as indicated on the door end of the container.
According to Lenny Naidoo, Acting National Operations Manager at CFAO Equipment SA’s Heavy Lift division, the container weighing process in port operations is a lengthy process, often leading to inefficiencies and poor productivity.
“It is for this reason that Konecranes, a leading international manufacturer of cranes and lifting equipment for use in port operations, developed its Static Weighing System. As an industry first, this system has enjoyed great success since its recent launch, where reach stackers can now hydraulically measure the weight of lifted containers before they are loaded onto a ship, with 1% full-scale accuracy achieved and verified in less than five seconds.
“This is a dramatic improvement compared with conventional weighing methods where containers are loaded onto weighbridges, with the process taking more than five minutes at least,” explains Lenny.
Recent updates to the system include an in-cab printing system that not only provides the port and operator with a printed verified weight, but automatically transfers and stores the data on the YourKonecranes cloud-based service. This allows for seamless integration between the weighing systems and users’ Terminal Operating System (TOS), Transport Management System (TMS) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
The static weighing system is easy to operate, with the operator initiating the weighing process from a multi-touch 7-inch control display inside the cabin once the container is lifted into its transport position, and provided with an automated Verified Gross Mass (VGM) declaration using the data gathered.
The automated VGM declaration contains detailed information such as gross container mass, exact container ID, time and date stamps on each container, operator details and even lift truck data. Furthermore, the system detects the GPS coordinates of the container, making for easier container picking and loading.
“The updates to our weighing system will make it not only easier for customers to comply with Solas regulations but will bolster their productivity and overall efficiency. The system will also provide customers with the agility and performance required to do more in less time, which will lead to increased operational profitability and elevated levels of safety in port operations,” Lenny concludes.