Finland’s largest container truck has plied southern Finnish roads for over four years now.
LOW-CARBON T RANSPORT CHAIN
Trucks and electricity driven work machines are the future.
S T E V E C O ’ S
MISSION POSSIBLE Finland’s largest logistics project will set a new benchmark for heavy transportation and installation work. PAGE 8
FIRST OF ITS KIND
KotkaMills’ recyclable and cost-effective coated board excites fast food giants and airlines.
C U S T O M E R
STEVECO AT YOUR SERVICE
Logistics solutions tailored for every customer since 1884.
M A G A Z I N E
40 BILLION-DOLLAR MEGA-PROJECT The Port of HaminaKotka is facing a huge logistics effort, with nothing left to chance.
14 NEW COATED BOARD INSPIRES Finally! Coated boards from 足KotkaMills can be used for making coffee cups, dishes and food packaging.
3 Editorial 4 News
THE FUTURE HOLDS LOW-CARBON 足TRANSPORT Electric trucks and 足electricity-driven work 足machines will cut the CO2 emissions in product transport chains.
6 Infographics: The future: low carbon transport 18 A full-service logistics service provider
FINLAND 100 – STEVECO 133 WE HAVE BEEN in business at ports since 1884, which fraction of one percent, but technology created here, even to us is quite an achievement. I believe – even such as cranes, RTGs and most recently automated though predicting the future is tricky – that we can RTGs, are world class and world renown and are in use look forward to another hundred years. That is despite across the globe. Finland’s ports are also the birthplace increasing digitalisation – or perhaps because of it. of terminal tractors and many devices for handling Many people are unhappy and discouraged that paper rolls and pulp bales. Mantsinen’s machines that even at ports more jobs are being automated, and more revolutionised break bulk handling is the most recent jobs done by humans will be lost to machines in the example of this Finnish innovation. future in the industry. This is wrong. Let’s take a broadIncreasing automation will be the next step, that is er view. In comparison with other European countries, certain, but people will not disappear from ports. That industrialisation in Finland happened late, but fast. is a good thing. That led to world class innovations and a reputation for excellent quality. To get industrial The development products out to the world, top-notch maritime know-how was needed, of ports has which fast forwarded development of ports through mechanisation. Tedious, driven industrial burdensome and dangerous tasks were innovation in reduced, and efficiency rose to a level that has greatly facilitated industrial Finland. development in Finland. The development of ports has driven industrial innovation in Finland. In the 1940s, Valmet introduced the straddle carrier for the sawmill industry’s needs. This machine became a top product for container handling. Finland’s container volumes are perhaps a
PHOTO JOHANNES WIEHN
TAPIO MATTILA Senior Vice President Marketing and Sales Steveco Publisher: Steveco Oy, Kirkkokatu 1, P.O. Box 44, 48101 Kotka tel. +358 5 23231 Editor-in-chief: Tapio Mattila Editorial board: Elina Harjama, Markus Myllylä, Tomi Rautio, Vesa-Heikki Renlund, Eija Suntio Repress: Aste Helsinki Oy Printing house: Painokotka Oy Paper: MultiArt Silk Edition: 500 ISSN: 1456-212X Cover image by: Shutterstock Address changes: www.steveco.fi or firstname.lastname@example.org
Eco truck is a winner
Finland’s largest container truck, the HCT (High Capacity Transport) tractor-trailer combination operated by Speed Oy, has plied southern Finnish roads for just over four years now. THE VEHICLE, with a total gross weight of 90 tonnes and 33 metres long, is such a giant that it requires a special permit from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency. This behemoth was purchased to develop the road haulage of maritime containers and diminish their environmental impact while maintaining smooth traffic flows and high road safety. Environmental aspects are a high priority because domestic traffic accounts for approximately one-fifth of Finland’s total greenhouse gas emissions, of which
approximately 90 percent is due to road traffic. “When the eco truck trial started, the goal was a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. That goal is now a reality,” says Tuomo Vallas, Managing Director of Speed Oy. “At the same time, road wear has been reduced because the load exerted by the HCT truck on the roads is lower than that of vehicles operating under normal legislation.” Speed has continued its development of environmentally friendly haulage by complementing its fleet
of eco trucks with an LNG-powered Volvo as a container tractor. Using Liquefied Natural Gas for container transport has been possible since August 2016 when Gasum opened an LNG filling station at the port of Vuosaari, Helsinki. “Our LNG truck has now been in operation for a few months, operating without problems and requiring no extra maintenance. The eco truck trial has gone extremely well, even exceeding our expectations, and I believe that we will increase our fleet of LNG vehicles as well,” Vallas says.
Henri Kuitunen, Managing Director of Steveco, welcomed the guests.
Celebrating 133 years in the port business is dated to 1884 when a young sailor, Jöns Bruhn, from Skåne, Sweden, notified the magistrate’s office that he was running a stevedoring business in the harbour of Kotka, Finland. Steveco celebrated its 133rd anniversary together with customers and partners at the old rail depot in Pasila, Helsinki. This October day saw people enjoying traditional delicacies from the regions of Saimaa, Kotka-Hamina and Helsinki in the spirit of the harvest season. STEVECO’S HISTORY
THE FUTURE: LOW CARBON TRANSPORT Text Marianna Salin Infographic Laura Ylikahri Images Shutterstock
An electric forklift moves the products from the mill to a product warehouse.
Electric forklift loads the products from the warehouse onto an electric truck or train.
Electric truck or train transports the products to the port.
In the future, the transport chain will operate through electricity-driven trucks, trains and work machines. Currently, train is the only electricity-driven method of transport. INFO
InToPort is a project initiated by Steveco and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences XAMK. It will create a research and development platform for studying and developing a low-carbon transport chain from mill to port and other related issues. The focus will be on the most demanding operating environment in the chain, the port. Project participants also include an equipment manufacturer, the port company, an energy company and the local development company.
Battery charging points are in the harbor. On ships, the charging points are on the work Âmachines Âoperating areas.
Carbon dioxide and particle Âemissions reduced. Local electricity Âproduction will even out spikes in electricity consumption.
At the port, an electricity-driven shunter moves the carriage to the port area.
Electricity-driven work machines move the goods into a warehouse or onto pallets and onto the ship.
An electric-driven straddle carrier moves the container next to the ship and electric-driven cranes lift containers onto the weather deck.
Reduction of air and noise pollution.
In the future, electricity-driven, mobile work machines will Âoperate on quick-chargeable batteries. At the moment, only fixed gantry cranes running on rails are electricity-driven. 1/2018
A project of
SUPERL THE PORT OF HAMINAKOTKA IS READYING ITSELF FOR THE LARGEST TRANSPORT PROJECT IN FINLAND EVER. MOVING MASSIVE CONSTRUCTION MODULES ACROSS THE WORLD IS A HUGE LOGISTICS EFFORT, WITH NOTHING LEFT TO CHANCE. PAGES
text Heli Satuli illustration Shutterstock
nits as big as this have never been transported in Finland. This is the largest logistics project at this port and in the entire country,” says Kimmo Naski, Managing Director of Port of Hamina Kotka Ltd. The total budget for the project approaches 40 billion US dollars. Logistics alone will account for around 10 percent of it. Participating partners come from several continents. The project is also the largest in the history of one of the partners, the Sarens Group. The Belgian company is the world’s leading specialist in crane rental, heavy lifting and engineered transport projects.
The task: Transport dozens of modules the size of a three-storey house from South Korea through HaminaKotka to Kazakhstan. Although this may sound like mission impossible, a look at what is happening at HaminaKotka shows it is doable. Mission impossible is becoming mission possible.
THE JOURNEY OF THE MODULES FROM SOUTH KOREA TO KAZAKHSTAN 1. The journey begins in Seoul, South Korea. 2. A cargo ship sails past Malaysia and along the south coast of India to the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal. 3. Leaving Suez, the ship continues across the Mediterranean, along the Spanish and French coasts to the English Channel, and finally through the Straits of Denmark to the Port of HaminaKotka. 4. The modules leave HaminaKotka on board riverboats, first to St Petersburg and further through Russian rivers to the Caspian Sea. 5. From there, the riverboats sail through a channel to the city of Prorva, ending their journey at the Tengiz Field.
“The unique scale and challenges of this fascinating project will set a new benchmark for heavy transportation and installation work,” remarks Bev Bentley, Project Director at Sarens. Bentley is confident that working together with the Port of HaminaKotka, Sterm and other skilled partners will see the hundreds of elements of the project completed with high quality and accuracy. Sarens is responsible for the unloading, storage and reloading of the modules. Sterm, a Steveco subsidiary, handles all services at HaminaKotka. “Sterm’s responsibilities include customer service and logistics for the riverboat company and other project participants, with the exception of piloting,” says Rui Neves, Sales Director. THE FINAL LEG VIA ASIAN RIVERBOATS
The size of the modules is breathtaking. One module weighs 1,500–2,000 tonnes and is 70 metres long, 16 10
The total project budget is close to
40 billion US dollars.
metres wide and 11 metres high. Dozens of modules will be handled at the port. They are headed for Kazakhstan and the oilfield of Tengizchevroil (TSO), owned by a consortium of international oil companies. The modules will be used to build oil pumping stations, which are also not modest in size – one station alone will consist of three modules stacked on top of each other. The modules will mainly be manufactured in South Korea and shipped on ocean vessels direct to HaminaKotka. Smaller consignments of other equipment needed at the oil pumping stations will arrive from Italy and elsewhere in Europe. The nearly 22,000 kilometre ocean journey from South Korea will take about one month. The vessels carry two to four modules per trip, with a new shipment of modules arriving at the Port once a month. During a one-week port call, the modules are unloaded from the
3. 4. HaminaKotka
The Caspian Sea
Prorva The Tengiz Field
The Suez Canal
cargo ship, stored at specially designed storage facilities at the Port and reloaded onto riverboats. The riverboats are designed for module transport on inland waterways, and despite the heavy cargo, they can operate in shallow rivers. The riverboats, manufactured in Vietnam, will be shipped empty to HaminaKotka on cargo ships and anchored by the pier to await the modules. Each boat will carry one module. The project will start in April 2018, with the last modules due to leave HaminaKotka in 2021. According to Naski, the process, dimensions and other details have been carefully planned on paper, but it was important to test it out before the project starts. A brand new riverboat arrived at the Port of Hamina in October 2016 where it spent a month being rigged, for example, with a frame constructed to the same size and specifications as the modules. The test shipment, together with crew and the necessary technology, then embarked on a journey to St
Petersburg and onward through Russian rivers to its destination in Kazakhstan. Neves, of Sterm, points out that detailed preparations are necessary because the journey will take around 40 days. UNPRECEDENTED PREPARATIONS
The size and weight of the modules present exceptional challenges in transport and handling. Naski says that the Port of HaminaKotka is prepared for all possible challenges and contingencies. The port will undergo substantial structural renewal, such as modifying piers and storage spaces to accommodate the project. Two berths, completed at the end of 2017, were built for the riverboats. â€œIn addition, we are reinforcing the routes along which the modules will move to ensure they can withstand the massive weight, and make sure we have enough room to handle the modules at the port,â€? Naski explains. 1/2018
professionals employed in the project at HaminaKotka.
The Port of HaminaKotka will invest 3 million euros in the project, and Sarens more than 20 million. Sarens will bring some 150 of its experts to Hamina for the duration of the project. The staff, specialising in sizable global construction and logistics projects, has been brought together from around the world. The project will also employ an estimated 50 local experts in various fields of logistics. PROVING THE PORT’S METTLE
That HaminaKotka was chosen as one of the key hubs of the huge project was not by coincidence, says Bentley. Logistically, the port has a unique location, and being a large port by Nordic standards, it offers all the services needed for a successful international project. “The Port also has experience in riverboat traffic going back almost a hundred years. This was an important criterion for us. We know that we can rely on the Port’s 12
competencies at all stages of the project,” says Bentley. The project will mean a significant increase in activity at the Hamina port over a four-year period. Naski emphasises that the entire staff is doing everything it can to make this project exemplary. “This project is important for the port from the employment and economic points of view, but more than anything, it will be a magnificent reference from which we can distinguish ourselves from the rest of the field and will position us excellently in international competition.” The project has had a good start. The modifications at the port are close to the finish line. Cooperation between the parties is close and smooth. “We are more than satisfied. Schedules and promises have been kept to the letter, and the staff at the port is excellent. This is the best possible start for a historic project,” sums up Bentley from Sarens.
The Port of HaminaKotka will undergo upgrading at a cost of
A POWER BOOST IN KAZAKHSTAN Far away under the steppes of Western Kazakhstan lies the giant Tengiz Field oil reserve. This is the world’s largest oil deposit with an area of more than 20 by 21 kilometres. The oil to be extracted is estimated at up to 1.1 billion tonnes. The oil company Tengizchevroil (TCO) started pumping oil and gas there in 1993. Now the time has come to modernise and expand the operations. The government of
Kazakhstan aims to increase the volume pumped and raise production efficiency. For this, modern oil pumping stations with the most modern technologies will be constructed from modules. Project planning started in 2014. The shipments of the modules under construction in South Korea, as well as other units needed in the project, will start in spring 2018 with completion scheduled for 2021.
million euros. 1/2018
text Marianna Salin photos KotkaMills
pioneers innovation for the world market Kotkamills produces coated boards that can be used for making coffee cups, dishes and food packaging. The material is unique in being easy to recycle yet competitively priced.
aper cups and hamburger boxes would seem to be innocuous enough commodities. You just collect them after use and recycle them. But how? That is the question being asked in the quickly expanding fast food industry. The market is still waiting for a good answer. That is until now and the innovative thinkers at Kotkamills. The inner surface of a cup and other containers usually has a plastic coating that protects the board against grease and moisture. The coating must be removed before the used board can be reutilised. This is not easy to achieve. “Recycling has so far been more expensive than making a new cup,” says Markku Hämäläinen, CEO, Kotkamills. He thinks it’s self-evident that fast food giants such as McDonald’s and Starbucks are not willing to pay extra for recyclability, even if it is important to do. There are also coatings on the market that disintegrate when the board is recycled and can be composted. These polymer dispersion coatings, however, have enjoyed limited popularity due to their high cost.
“Companies have used them on a very small scale, mostly for PR purposes,” Hämäläinen says. Kotkamills, on the other hand, plans to use polymer dispersions for cups and packaging on a very large scale for the world market – and do it at a profit. THE WORLD’S LONGEST BOARD MACHINE
The economic equation seems easy – Kotkamills produces a high quality protective coating without wasting expensive raw material. Technologically, the system requires several applications of very thin coatings. A traditional board mill cannot do this without a complete overhaul. Hämäläinen, an old hand in the paper industry, was convinced a few years ago this could indeed be done when he took the idea, born in the sauna among friends, first to a laboratory and then to a board mill. “We ran a few tests, but they invariably failed because the coating section was too old and too short,” Hämäläinen recalls. Soon, he was looking for a mill big enough for a board machine 200 metres long, twice the length of the standard 100 or so metres. 1/2018
What is polymer dispersion? Products such as water-based paints are polymer dispersions. When water evaporates, the polymer subunits bond together to form a film. Paint dried on hands easily breaks down into small bits when hands are washed with water. This is roughly the same way dispersion on the surface of cup paper behaves in a recycling pulper. In contrast, the traditional coating for cup paper, polythene, is applied in molten condition like other plastics, and the resulting film is difficult to separate from the board.
“In Europe, or actually, in the whole world, there were three suitable mills. Kotkamills was the most suitable,” says Hämäläinen. The primary investor in the project, MB Funds, acquired Kotkamills, and modifications were started at the old paper mill in Markku Hämäläinen spring 2015. The magazine paper machine was dismantled, and the board machine started up in summer 2016. In autumn of the same year, it was already producing the targeted quality. CATERING TO FAST FOOD GIANTS AND AIRLINES
The certificates are proof that the board is safe to use for foodstuffs. 16
In addition to being technically suitable for barrier board, Kotkamills offered a valuable cash flow for the developers even before the new product was launched. The mill produced, and still produces, sawn timber, paper for laminating, and resin impregnated papers used, for example, for coating plywood. “These are very important products for us, and we are even planning to increase production of laminated paper,” Hämäläinen says. Board production also started with a
A SMOOTH, CLEAN CHAIN FROM BOARD MILL TO CUP FACTORY When Kotkamills added the new boards to its products, it was time to plan the transport chain with Steveco. The mill that had served the furniture and construction industries for so long now had its eye on the packaging industry, which sells to the foodstuffs industry. It was clear that the board rolls should be wrapped to protect them from scratches and smudges, and importantly, from odors and tastes. Additionally, the rolls must be handled in immaculately clean areas to prevent even a single glass shard or drop of oil from contaminating the packaging.
“Our transports follow the same rules as food transport. To us, this was new, but Steveco, of course, has done it with its other customers,” says Juha Ottelin, Logistics Manager at Kotkamills. The significance of storage facilities is particularly important for Kotkamills because the Hietanen port in Kotka also provides storage for products from the mill, which is located close to the port. “The board rolls are lifted onto the trucks directly from the cutters on the production line,” Ottelin explains. He characterises the operation as a long
traditional product, folding boxboard, used in applications for packaging pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, chocolate and other products. According to Hämäläinen, folding boxboard will gradually make way for the more profitable barrier board. The mill produces two grades of barrier board, one for cups, and one for boxes. Samples of both have already been sent to customers such as manufacturers of frozen fish packaging and fast food boxes. Kotkamills was granted the final food packaging certificate in late summer 2017. “The certificates are proof that the board is safe to use for foodstuffs. Big customers will not even want samples unless the product is certified,” Hämäläinen says. By big customers, he most importantly means fast food chains and international airlines, even though Kotkamills’ customers are packaging manufacturers. Packaging manufacturers are interested in how barrier boards are suited for mass production, primarily its speed and heat jointing, which is necessary to form the barrier coating. Dispersions have had a rather poor reputation with regard to jointing.
conveyor whose downtime would also cause disruption in production. “It is of utmost importance to us that the feeder traffic is reliable and smooth, while being flexible when necessary. That is why we work in close cooperation.” Ottelin is also interested in Steveco’s project developing a low carbon logistics chain. He believes that a low carbon logistics chain is an interesting proposition also for the barrier board markets. Recyclability, after all, is the trump card.
“Our cup paper is easy to joint,” Hämäläinen says. He also cites a further benefit of the new board – it can be used for high quality copy paper and newsprint in contrast to ordinary recycled board. “This means that the end user can sell collected cups to recyclers at a higher price.” LOOKING FOR A COMPETITOR
When you go after big customers, you must be big yourself. “I believe that after three years, half of the 400,000-tonne capacity will be taken up by barrier boards. The mill’s revenue should then hit over 500 million euros. This year, it is around 300 million,” Hämäläinen says. He also hopes that within five years, Kotkamills will have a significant competitor in the market for recyclable and compostable barrier boards. “None of the giants will be willing to buy from only one supplier.” For the foreseeable future, however, Kotkamills intends to enjoy its competitive edge with its new, demanding production technology. 1/2018
A FULL- SERVICE logistics service provider text Martti Linna photos Shutterstock
e have seen good times and bad times,” says Tomi Rautio, Senior Vice President, Steveco Logistics. “We have survived both. This may sound strange, but even good times have their challenges. It is great to see that we have been developing along with the rest of the world. Today, we are so much more than a stevedoring company.” Mr Rautio underscores the importance of good customer relations, even if long-term agreements are becoming increasingly rare in today’s quarter-based economies. “In this respect, we have been successful. We have been able to secure longer-term agreements and maintain long and valuable customer relations. This has enabled us to invest in development. We are very grateful for that.” So good personal relations play a role even in a global economy? “Absolutely. We have put a lot of effort into customer service and staff training. For example, the means and
channels by which people communicate are shifting, so it is important that we keep our finger on the pulse of these changes. Generations change, and there must be continuity.” GROWTH AND A SOLID FUTURE
The Steveco Group offers its services Tomi Rautio at the Port of Vuosaari in Helsinki, the ports of Hietanen and Mussalo in Kotka, in Hamina and at ports along the Saimaa waterway. Each of the locations has its own important place and role to play in the service concept. The Mussalo and Vuosaari units mainly serve container operators. “Both terminals believe strongly that the traffic will grow further. Particularly bioproducts and the circular economy will generate significant growth on the export side in the very near future,” Rautio explains. In Hamina, the group is enjoying strong growth chiefly because of the concentration of the mechanical forest industry and new service concepts. Winter traffic on the
Steveco’s long history dates back to 1884. Modern Steveco dates to 1988 with the merger of Kotka Stevedoring and Hamina Oy. Today, Steveco is the leading port operator in Finland and the market leader in the transport of Finnish forest industry products and transit transport. The company puts a premium on maintaining its long reputation for excellence, delivering comprehensive and reliable solutions to its customers while developing and refining Steveco’s owners include large Finnish forest industry its operations. and shipping companies. According to Tomi Rautio, that is one of the reasons why Steveco’s basic infrastructure and operating models are so fine-tuned, and can provide high-quality services to all parties involved.
Saimaa waterway is also handled by Hamina. Saimaa is an important channel for the export industries and the import of some raw materials even today. Steveco’s subsidiary Saimaa Terminals (Sterm) has a central role as a high-quality service provider. CHINA IS GROWING
Tomi Rautio is delighted that 2017 was a good year for Steveco. The amount of work has developed well, and new investments have been allocated to both cargo handling equipment and information systems. “I expect that we will end 2018, too, with a positive financial result. I also see only growth in our budget for 2018. We are naturally looking for improved profitability, even though we are in a volume business where fixed costs give you annoyingly little manoeuvring room.” Looking at the global picture, several bright spots and growth opportunities can be seen. Asia, and China in particular, look to be a growing export destination
Asia, and China in particular, look to be a growing export destination because of bioproducts and sawn goods exports.
Finland invests heavily in developing new types of bioproducts. As part of the bioeconomy, the connected pulp and mechanical forest industry products are seeing growth.
because of bioproducts and sawn goods exports. Imports are stable, and the increasing need for raw materials has already been noted in Steveco’s forwarding business.
concentrated material flows and regional hubs in haulage are key. SKILLED PERSONNEL MEANS GOOD SERVICE
DEPOT SERVICES GROW IN IMPORTANCE
Transit traffic from Russia through Finnish ports has diminished. This underscores the role of Steveco’s good depot services in Mussalo, Hietanen and Vuosaari. Regarding this evolution, Rautio says, “The volume of empty containers returned here through natural rotation is very small.” “This means that operators need to redirect containers here from places where there is an overflow.” Exports of chemical forest industry products in particular must be loaded in good, undamaged and clean containers. This is precisely where Steveco’s depot operations excel. When containers are shipped to Finland empty and there is not a lot of time, efficient inspections, cleaning and, if necessary, repairs are top priority. We shouldn’t forget that Steveco runs its own land terminal in Kouvola. Rautio describes it as a place where road and rail transport meet. Today, Kouvola mainly handles forest industry exports to the East, as well as import products, such as steel, coming from there. Kotka is an important hub in Steveco’s service strategy. A broad range of services and competencies enables logistics solutions tailored flexibly for every customer’s individual needs. For example, Steveco and VR Transport have developed a solid, unbroken logistics chain from the production plant to the ship for Binderholz, a wood processing company in Northern Karelia. Rautio believes 20
“By collecting so-called critical mass from many production plants or even from several industries, you can build volume-based transport concepts and solutions. This creates efficiencies and lowers costs, particularly for the customers, but also for the various players along the logistics chain. Shipping companies can collect their cargo from fewer ports, and one operator can offer a complete service package end-to-end. This saves the customer time and money, and the optimised logistics chain ensures operational stability.” Steveco has purchased new equipment for cargo handling. In 2016, a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), system was taken into production use at container terminals, which further increased operational reliability. Machines and IT are developing all the time – yet, there is always a human at the core of customer service, Rautio promises. “We have a broad range of services and a broad scope of expertise in our sales staff. A new customer is always assigned a dedicated account manager who acts as a single point of contact for the customer in all of their logistics needs and coordinates everything within Steveco. This way, customers get everything they need in one place. The operating departments, in practice, handle the customer’s projects, but the account manager is always up to date on what is happening.”
text Marianna Salin photos Elina Harjama and Johannes Wiehn
transport chain from mill to port
In future, electric trucks and electricity-driven work machines will cut the CO2 emissions in Âproduct transport chains. How much? At what price? When? These are some of the questions to which Steveco intends to find answers in collaboration with research partners.
InToPort is a project being initiated by Steveco and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences XAMK. It will create a research and development platform for studying and developing a low-carbon transport chain from mill to port and other related issues. The focus will be on the most demanding operating environment in the chain, the port. Project participants also include an equipment manufacturer, the port company, an energy company and the local development company.
he trend is clear. Customers are more and more interested in how products have been manufactured and where their raw materials come from. When carbon dioxide emissions come under comparison, the transport chain also figures. “We believe that a low-carbon transport chain will increase in importance in the future, and we want to contribute to its research and development,” says Heikki Jääskeläinen, Senior Vice President, Roro Operations, Steveco. In Steveco’s vision, an electric forklift moves the products from the mill to a product warehouse, and later on, loads them on an electric truck or train that transports them to the port. At the port, electricity-driven workma-
A low-carbon transport chain will increase in importance in future. 22
chines move the goods into a warehouse or on pallets and onto the ship. Because no readily available solutions exist, Steveco is starting a cross-disciplinary research project called InToPort with South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences XAMK, plus other partners. “The demanding operating environment at a port is a good basis for R&D work whose results also other actors in the transport chain may take advantage of.” A MORE POWERFUL ELECTRIC FORKLIFT
Part of port equipment is already electrically driven. These include the fixed gantry cranes running on rails. At the Hietanen port in Kotka, Southeast Finland, all machines run on wheels, because they load ro-ro ships, to which the goods are rolled on and from which they are rolled off. Forklifts move pallets and rolls in the warehouse and in the holds of the ship. Terminal tractors move pallets on shunting trailers, and mobile cranes lift containers on to the weather deck. All this equipment is powered by diesel engines. Does an alternative to the internal combustion engine even exist? Laura Hasko, Development and Quality Manager, Steveco, admits that electric forklifts have had a bad reputation at ports, and for a good reason. They are fine in a wholesaler’s warehouse where one-tonne lift capacity is more than enough, but at the Hietanen port, the smallest
load is a couple of tonnes, and the largest as much as six tonnes. Some of the port’s diesel forklifts lift up to 28 tonnes. Feedback from the port is now changing, though. Hietanen received an electric forklift for testing last year. It can lift eight tonnes. Jouni Hinkkanen, stevedore, says the machine works as well as diesel forklifts with the same weight. “It is a good machine to drive. Quieter and smoother. The battery makes it a bit bigger,” he sums up. QUICK CHARGING COMING SOON
For a lay person, it is easy to place his bets on the electric forklift when it begins its nimble dance right next to a roaring diesel forklift. After six hours, however, his opinion might change. The electric forklift is getting exhausted, goes to charging, and comes back to work only the next morning. “With a diesel truck, a full fuel tank allows driving two shifts, that is, 16 hours,” says Jääskeläinen. He says an electric truck will not be a viable option until it manages one full working day one way or another. Present battery development does not encourage waiting for the introduction of a battery sufficient for a whole workday. Jääskeläinen considers a more probable solution to be quick charging during breaks. Having closely followed the development of straddle carriers, he knows that five-minute charging once every hour is being tested, but there is still a lot to be developed. PEAK POWER UNDER THE MAGNIFYING GLASS
If quick chargeable work equipment were the only requirement for a low-carbon transport chain, the people at Steveco would hardly be starting a research project. “We also have to be clear on how charging fits our workflow, where the charging stations should be, and whether the ships have a role in charging,” Hasko lists the issues. The greatest challenge, however, is the power required by charging. What happens when the stevedores have their break and leave their machines to be charged? The power peak is hardly covered by turning off the lights in the office – or even in the whole city. At present, it is impossible to assess the charging power requirement as no electrically driven work equipment exists yet, but Hasko is hopeful that the research project will provide answers. “At the same time, we want to study possibilities for generating electricity.” This is one reason why the local energy company is one of the research partners in the project.
SELF-GENERATED SOLAR POWER
One solution for power generation can be seen through the window of the Hietanen port terminal. The spring sunshine from a clear blue sky lights up the roofs of the warehouse buildings. Roofs that together make up 130,000 square metres. “If we installed solar panels on the roofs, work could continue at least when the sun is shining,” Hasko chuckles. Even though Kotka is considered one of Finland’s sunniest cities, she admits that besides solar power generation, power storage and other ways of generation need to be studied. Jääskeläinen and Hasko expect the project to offer estimations of purchase and energy costs, as well as CO2 emission reductions that a low-carbon transport chain could create. “The purchase cost of equipment will probably rise a little in the beginning, but operating costs will go down,” Jääskeläinen thinks. DOWN WITH ALL EMISSIONS
It is clear already that a shift to electrically driven work equipment would reduce both carbon dioxide and particle emissions. Steveco has paid attention to this for years. For example, some of the port’s forklifts, staddlers and terminal tractors have catalysers that reduce nitrogen oxides with a urea-water solution. “In the research project, we intend to compare the operation and emissions of regular diesel forklifts, urea forklifts and electric forklifts,” Jääskeläinen says. When diesel forklifts operate in ships’ cargo holds, about five metres high, their exhaust fumes are sucked out by the ship’s efficient ventilation system. When the project progresses, it is expected to show how much the reduction of exhaust fumes will reduce the need for ventilation on board the ships and thus the ships’ power generation requirements. “We will also study whether the electricity generated by the ship could be used for charging,” Jääskeläinen reveals. As far as the working environment goes, the deployment of quiet and emission-free work equipment seems nothing but a positive development, but not even that is taken for granted in the Steveco project. Hasko points out that a silently moving electric forklift is difficult to notice. “In the project, we intend to also pay attention to whether it is possible to improve work safety, for example with an employee’s clothing giving an alert for an approaching machine, or the machine recognising a person too close to its working range.” 1/2018
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