Monthly Archives: February 2016

Initial Assessment confirmed Benefits of the RCMS

HPC - Contact person: Dr. Nils Kemme

Based on preliminary information from Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) on technical details and functionality of the RCMS , HPC Hamburg Port Consulting GmbH (HPC) has conducted a first high-level assessment of the RCMS that aims to identify system advantages to be strengthened and potential weaknesses to be eliminated during the further development process. For this assessment, the RCMS has been compared against two established container handling systems:

–          a fully manually operated RTG (Rubber Tyred Gantry) crane system, working together with TTUs (Tractor Trailer Units) as horizontal transport vehicles, and

–          a fully automated RMG (Rail Mounted Gantry) crane system, working together with AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) for the horizontal transportation of containers,

which represent the most prominent and the most advanced established terminal handling systems, respectively.


Both established systems and the RCMS have been rated for a more than twenty different criteria, covering operational, financial, environmental and other aspects. In order to take the total picture, also soft criteria, such as work safety, system complexity and ease of maintenance, have been taken into account. The ratings are based on the preliminary information on the RCMS and HPC’s 40 years comprehensive know how and experience with state-of-the-art container handling systems.


The comparative assessment reveals several advantages, but also some weaknesses of the RCMS. Most notably, the investment cost for the RCMS are expected to be rather high as compared to the other two systems due to the construction cost for the building. On the other hand, the RCMS has received comparably good ratings for the following criteria: degree of innovation, labour costs, safety, storage density, productivity, service level as well as noise and exhaust emissions. Ultimately, the RCMS offers several advantages as compared to established container handling system. In particular the storage density provided by the RCMS is unrivalled, thus enabling for terminal construction and expansion even in areas where space is limited and expensive. Another noteworthy advantage of the RCMS is the direct accessibility of all container at all time without the need for any shuffle and housekeeping moves, thus being more productive and providing higher service level than established systems.

Source: HPC

RCMS presented at Harbours 360 Conference

Dennis Kögeböhn, from HPC Hamburg Port Consulting GmbH presented the RCMS at the Harbours 360 Conference in Antwerp, Belgium on 20th and 21st October 2015.
In his talk with the title „Is Automation the Answer to all Issues?“ he gave an overview on past developments and recent trends in automation of container terminal operations. Based on several case study terminals and automation projects HPC has been involved in over the last decade, he pointed out that automation can in fact provide high capacity, stable service, low operational costs, safe working environment and reduced emissions, if a tailored automation scope is defined and precisely planned and realized by experienced experts in this field. Otherwise, automation will raise more questions than answering issues.
Having identified a global trend towards terminal automation, he made a look into the future of the next generation container terminal, asking what might be the next big trend for the container terminal industry. Out of several concepts, he highlighted the idea and the benefits of the RCMS, which will provide unrivaled storage density and direct access to each container at the same time. Although being still under development, Dennis Kögeböhn concluded that these benefits will make the RCMS particularly useful for high-productivity terminals with limited extension space and where land is very expensive.

Source: HPC

Design criteria documents and further development of the civil engineering works

With a basis for the further development of the civil engineering works in mind the design criteria documents for the exemplary ports of Gdańsk, Poland and Koper, Slovenia have been created. The documents will be based on the inputs from the terminals taking into account the local conditions and constraints. Input for this are the static planning and preliminary layouts from the Alternative Terminal Layouts report. Herein the development of the layout alternatives with basic assumptions and planning guidelines as well as the operational concept of both alternatives have been defined. Not only the RCMS solution shall be developed. Also the two state of the art solutions with rail mounted gantry cranes (RMG) and rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTG).

A design criteria document contains for example the site conditions of a port, the design parameter for maritime structures and the requirements for the infrastructure. The document for the RCMS solution involves as well the part of the additional design parameters for the RCMS building. Amongst others the fire protection, the rain water collection system, the requirements for the internal walls etc. belong to this part.

The design criteria documents have been submitted in January 2016.


The RCMS building, being a new and innovative container handling and storage solution, needs to be checked with regard to structural stability and constructability. After the submission of the design criteria documents, SELLHORN Ingenieurgesellschaft has now the possibility to provide the technical design for the Rethinking Container Management System (RCMS). It will be based on the standard construction solutions known to the industry, mainly reinforced concrete and steel profiles.

The technical design consists of a design concept of the building, which requires amongst others the results of the structural calculation of the building and the foundation. Other parts of the technical design are the general drawings of the building, like cross sections, plan views and relevant detail drawings, as well as the electrical concept of the building.

Parallel to the work of SELLHORN Ingenieurgesellschaft, the research firm COMPASS will start working on the development of the RCMS building with innovative technology structural and construction solutions. The objective of this step is to create an optimized solution of the technical design for the structural construction, maybe with a combination of the innovative and the standard materials.

Additional to the technical design of the RCMS solution, each of the terminals will be developed with the two state of the art container handling technologies. In this manner the three solutions are in the technical, financial and operational regard comparable.


Following the work on the terminal layouts on the technical design of the RCMS building, all options will be analysed and costs of the required civil works will be complied for each solution and each port. These civil works costs will be used by HPC to perform the financial analysis of the different options.


In the following the first drafts of the drawings for the RCMS Building in Port of Gdansk are shown:

DRAFT – Floor plan 1st floor – Port of Gdansk


DRAFT – Cross section of the terminal with the RCMS building – Port of Gdansk


The RCMS Project disembarks at the Transport Research Arena

RCMS barcelona

During the last Technical Management Committee of the RCMS Project, which took place in Barcelona (11th– 12th January) at the CIMNE (International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering) premises, the Consortium ratified its participation to the next Transport and Research Area (http://www.traconference.eu/).

On April (18th -21st) the RCMS Consortium, indeed, will attend the TRA Conference (Transport Research Arena) in Warsaw, 6th European Transport Research Conference MOVING FORWARD: Innovative solutions for Tomorrow’s Mobility.

The Horizon 2020 co-funded Project RCMS (Rethink Container Management Systems), which consists of the implementation of a Robotic Container Management System, an innovative infrastructure-specific and resource-efficient solution for enhanced cross-modal inter-connectivity and active container management, capable of providing optimal and adaptable responses to changes in conditions of multi-modal transport network by all actors in the value chain (shipping companies, port terminal operators, truck and railways companies), has been invited to present a 3D “architect” model for RCMS.

TRA 2016 is a great showcase, being its scope the coverage of all modes of surface transport: road, rail and waterborne. Here the latest achievements or European Research and technological developments will be presented and             thoroughly discussed by participants. A broad spectrum of research and innovation activities will range from basic sciences to application-oriented engineering, social, technical and economic aspects, as well as policies and standards.