Revealed: Dubai to operate world’s first ‘multi-storey port’

An international joint-venture formed by DP World and industrial engineering specialists SMS group will revolutionise the way that containers are handled in ports.

A new and intelligent storing system will be applied for the first time at Jebel Ali Terminal 4, in time for the Dubai Expo 2020, the port operator said in a statement.

The High Bay Storage system was originally developed by SMS group subsidiary AMOVA for round the clock handling of metal coils that weigh as much as 50 tons each in racks as high as 50 metres.

AMOVA is the first company to transfer this proven technology to the port industry.

Instead of stacking containers directly on top of each other, which has been global standard practice for decades, the system places each container in an individual rack compartment.

Containers are stored in an 11-storey rack, creating 200 percent more capacity than a conventional container terminal, or creating the same capacity in less than a third of the space.

Thanks to the rack’s design each container can be accessed without having to move another one, enabling 100 percent utilization in a terminal yard.

DP World said the system brings big gains in speed, energy efficiency, better safety and a major reduction in costs. Costs are further cut by the ability to shorten the time taken to load and unload mega-ships by as much as 30 percent.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, DP World Group chairman and CEO, said: “As a world first in our industry we are tremendously excited by its potential and groundbreaking features. Our engagement in new technologies is a major priority and we have become known for seeking ways that transform the way goods are moved across the world. Innovation is part of our DNA and at the heart of our success.”

Dr Mathias Dobner, CEO of the joint venture, added: “This new container handling technology allows cities to use their expensive and sensitive land and waterfront areas more effectively. Our system will significantly increase the productivity of handling ships on the quay.

“This means that quay walls can be shortened by a third. This disruptive innovation will greatly improve the financial performance of container ports, and well as their overall appearance.”

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