Acute container congestion at ports is a growing problem throughout the world. Container terminals being the inter- change between the various modes of container transport are nowadays a congestion hotspot. Many ports suffer not only from a shortage of their quayside facilities but also railway and especially road capacities have been more than exhausted affecting smooth hinterland and internal port logistics.
The Port Feeder Barge (PFB), a unique concept, offers port operators a means for reducing congestion caused by trucks moving containers within ports. The highly manoeuvrable, double-ended 168 TEU vessel, is self-sustained, and is equipped with a container crane and spreader.
The PFB’s patented double-ended design is a self-propelled container pontoon and highly manoeuvrable. It carries its own state-of-the-art full-scale container crane, together with all the accessories required to pick up the increasing number of container flats with out-of-gauge cargo. The crane has a capacity of 40 tonnes under the spreader at an outreach of 27 metres.
This innovative design for a self-propelled container barge from Wärtsilä Ship Design is an environmentally sound option for sea ports. It offers substantial benefits to container logistics in major container ports.
Equipped with two electrically-driven rudder propellers at each end, the PFB can sail at the same speed either forwards or backwards. Its power comes from a diesel-electric engine plant fitted with exhaust scrubbers for the lowest possible emissions, and the vessel can be operated by a crew of three. It fulfills the highest environmental standards.
Within the Port of Hamburg the “Köhlbrand” bridge – the main connection between the western and eastern part of the port – is the major bottleneck for road vehicles, especially for intra- terminal transport. Any bypassing by conventional waterborne transport (e.g. pusher barges) suffers from the availability and the high costs of the huge quayside gantry cranes which are especially designed to serve the big deep sea vessels. One move by gantry crane today is more costly than the entire trucking within the port. Thus alone the conventional waterborne box transport within the port can not be competitive.
The innovative Port Feeder Barge is a self contained cost effec- tive alternative to road trucking. The self propelled 168 TEU vessel is of double ended configuration and is equipped with its own 40 tonne capacity container crane. It shall ply between the various terminals in order to shift the intra-terminal box transport from road to waterway. The design concept is secured by international patents.
The first Port Feeder Barge is intended to be deployed within the Port of Hamburg on a quay-to-quay basis. A daily round-the-port-service will be offered. The operation is secured by signed co-operation agreements with the local terminal ope- rators. The vessel will call at all major terminals on a regular basis but will also serve smaller facilities on demand where boxes are stuffed,stripped,repaired or stored.
One additional regular call will be at a central berth to meet with the inland waterway vessels for direct ship-to-ship box transfer in order to spare them their time consuming trips around the port.
References : Wartsila/ Port Fender Barge