ABP pioneers grain-monitoring robot to revolutionise safety in agricultural storage

ABP pioneers grain-monitoring robot to revolutionise safety in agricultural storage

19.3.2024 | Ports

ABP pioneers grain-monitoring robot to revolutionise safety in agricultural storage

The ‘CROVER’ robot is the first robotic device able to ‘swim’ or move with minimal effort through grains stored in bulk, such as wheat, barley and oilseeds held in storage. 

Spearheading innovation in agricultural storage and safety at work, Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK’s largest port operator has teamed up with partners Crover Ltd, the robot’s creators, as well as Camgrain, Holkham Farming Company and Morley Farms to further develop and pilot a grain-monitoring robot that can substantially enhance workplace safety and enhance grain store.

The ‘CROVER’ robot is the first robotic device able to ‘swim’ or move with minimal effort through grains stored in bulk, such as wheat, barley and oilseeds held in storage and is intended to enable farmers and grain storage operators to improve the health and safety of their grain storage and transport operations.

The prototype, which is being tested at ABP’s Port of Ayr in Scotland will also help maintain grain quality during long-term storage, reduce energy costs from cooling and aeration and avoid unnecessary chemical interventions. This will reduce grain claims, rejections and labour costs from integrated pest management (IPM) grain storage operations.

Prior to the existence of this robot, checking the moisture levels of piles of grain was a manual process, which is both time-consuming and produces varying degrees of accuracy. It also increased the risk of avalanches when operatives had to climb up a stack of grain to take readings on moisture and heat. This robot enhances workplace safety because it has the ability to ‘climb’ to the top of a tall pile of grain and insert a metal rod vertically, which helps monitor the levels with a significant level of precision and eliminates the need for a manual process.

Duncan Welberry, ABP Head of IT Business Partnering, Data & Analytics, said: “Safety is a core value for ABP and because our ports naturally bring a wide variety of businesses across the supply chain together, they are ideal innovation hubs for developing tools and systems to enable safer workplace practices.

“This grain-monitoring bot is the latest addition to our smart tech devices, which include drones, wearables and more. We are excited about this collaboration and look forward to seeing what lessons it can reveal for the wider farming and grain storage industry.”

Connor Lyons, ABP Business Innovation Lead, commented: “Being part of the creative R&D process is always immensely rewarding. The idea to integrate the CROVER robot was born by developing a deep understanding of our customer’s challenges and the situations our colleagues in operations deal with every day. I am proud that we have been recognised and rewarded with a grant that will further accelerate innovation in this space.

“This project is an excellent celebration of science in practice. With British Science Week coming up in March, it’s a powerful reminder that ports are hubs for innovation and can offer a variety of exciting jobs, from Engineering to R&D.”

Dr Lorenzo Conti, Crover Founder & Managing Director: “We are delighted to have won this funding with ABP and are grateful to have a partner with the space, operations and vision to help us test this tool in a realistic environment and refine its capabilities.”

The project has been awarded £335K by Innovate UK as part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)’s Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) fund. As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK helps businesses to grow through the development and commercialisation of new products, processes and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive and easy to navigate.

Image: ‘CROVER’ Robot

Peel Ports convenes retail industry leaders as demand grows for greener UK port of entry strategy

Peel Ports convenes retail industry leaders as demand grows for greener UK port of entry strategy

20.2.2024 | Ports

Peel Ports convenes retail industry leaders as demand grows for greener UK port of entry strategy

Sector urged to import goods via UK ports closer to their end destination in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. 

The call comes as 90% of deep-sea containerised cargo enters the UK via southern ports, despite 60% of these goods being destined for the north.

This creates the need for long road journeys across UK roads to get retail cargo to its end destination, generating significant greenhouse gas emissions and causing major delays.

Experts will convene at a webinar hosted by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to create a roadmap on how the industry can work together to optimise UK ports of entry for a greener, more efficient and robust retail supply chain.

Titled The 60/90 dilemma – why sluggish UK retail supply chains are overdue a rethink, the expert panel will include senior leaders from household names such as TJ Morris, The Very Group, and UK port operator Peel Ports.

The move follows a survey from Peel Ports which found 76% of UK retail leaders would want to see imported goods closer to their end destination. The research also showed improving sustainability is high on the retailer agenda, with 77% claiming that cutting carbon emissions is one of their top strategic priorities, and 79% believing more efficient transportation of goods is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

With retailers placing an onus on more sustainable and efficient transportation of goods, the expert panel will assess the barriers that need to be overcome to deliver a transformative shift across the retail supply chain.

As well as reducing emissions from long-haul journeys, importing goods closer to their end destination would enhance efficiency by reducing congestion and transportation costs.

Moderated by the BRC, the webinar’s panel will include senior representatives from Home Bargains owner TJ Morris, The Very Group and Peel Ports Group.

Marcus Connolly, Strategic Commercial Director – Port of Liverpool at Peel Ports, said: “What’s clear is that retail leaders are crying out for better use of UK ports so goods arrive closer to their end destination. The benefits are numerous, with shorter lead times, fewer emissions and more efficient landside logistics, to name a few.

“Ports are primed to facilitate more sustainable retail operations, and we now need to work closely with shipping lines and the wider retail and logistics sectors to deliver more effective solutions. This discussion is a much-needed and urgent step in the right direction.”

The 60/90 dilemma – why sluggish UK retail supply chains are overdue a rethink takes place on Tuesday, 5 March 2024, from 11am – 12noon GMT.

To register for the webinar click here.

Peel Ports appoints Strategic Commercial Director

Peel Ports appoints Strategic Commercial Director

23.1.2024 | Ports

Peel Ports appoints Strategic Commercial Director

Peel Ports has strengthened its global container operations with the appointment of Marcus Connolly.  

Marcus Connolly joins the port operator with more than 25 years of experience in international container shipping and logistics, having held roles at A.P. Moller–Maersk and NYSHEX. 

Based at the Port of Liverpool, Marcus will be responsible for developing transformational growth opportunities through group-wide strategic partnerships as well as further developing strong relationships with major shipping lines.  

Marcus will play a vital role in leveraging Peel Ports’ position as an integral part of UK and Ireland supply chains, helping to develop more sustainable and reliable supply chain solutions. The close proximity of the Port of Liverpool to the North of England hinterland, to Scotland and the Midlands as well as direct Irish Sea connectivity to both Ireland and Scotland, offers unrivalled opportunities to reduce supply chain cost and emissions, increase landside asset utilisation and profitability, and reduce landside congestion.  

Marcus brings with him a comprehensive background in international container shipping and expertise in building and leading successful teams across product, sales, and customer experience. 

Prior to joining Peel Ports, Marcus served as Carrier Experience Director, Europe, at NYSHEX, where he introduced two-way committed ocean contracts and SaaS solutions to container shipping. 

Before NYSHEX, Marcus spent more than 25 years at A.P. Moller–Maersk, including 8 years as Head of Trade & Marketing and Customer Experience functions in the UK & Ireland, as well as 6 years as Head of Sales UAE, Oman, Qatar and Iran, based in Dubai.  

David Huck, Chief Operating Officer at Peel Ports Group, said: “Marcus’ experience in the global container shipping and logistics industry is second to none, while his knowledge and results-driven approach will play a vital role as we look to strengthen our operations internationally.  

“In the year ahead, our main aim is to further support cargo owners, strengthen our relationships with global shipping lines and importers, and continue to grow our presence as the UK’s second largest port operator. Marcus will play a crucial role in achieving this.”  

Marcus’ arrival further demonstrates Peel Ports’ commitment to working closer with shipping lines and cargo owners after the recent appointment of former B&M retail head of supply chain Jerome Wildsmith as BCO Sales Manager late last year. 

David Huck said: “More effective sea transport and shipping routes will offer endless opportunities for vast improvements for cargo owners, including a reduction of cost, carbon and congestion, with clear benefits. 

“Currently, 90 per cent of deep-sea containerised cargo comes into southern UK ports, yet 60 per cent of these are destined for the North. Quite simply, this makes very little sense.  

“Marcus will use his new position to help importers better leverage the Port of Liverpool’s close proximity to major distribution centres in the North, improving operational efficiencies across the supply chain.”  

DP World goes fossil diesel free at London Gateway

DP World goes fossil diesel free at London Gateway

22.1.2024 | Ports

DP World goes fossil diesel free at London Gateway

DP World has achieved a significant milestone in its sustainability journey by making both of its UK logistics hubs fossil-free. 

 

Diesel-engine equipment and installations were switched over to run on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) at the start of January as part of London Gateway’s sustainability drive, which made significant progress last year towards electrification and the use of more carbon-efficient energy sources.

HVO, a renewable biodiesel derived from sustainable sources, will significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions at the hub and is expected to save around 8,300 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) in 2024 – equal to the annual emissions of more than 4,700 family cars.

DP World will deploy HVO at London Gateway throughout the entirety of 2024, with an expected 26% net reduction in the company’s total carbon emissions from its fleet and installations by the end of the year. The move follows DP World Southampton’s transition to HVO 18 months ago, which resulted in carbon emissions being cut by 90%.

Ahsan Agha, Vice President Port Operations at DP World London Gateway, said: “Transitioning from fossil diesel to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) across our operations is critical to meeting our customer’s supply chain demands. The move demonstrates not only our goal of becoming a net zero carbon organisation by 2050 but also highlights our commitment to our customer’s sustainability success as well as our own.

“Alongside our unrivalled and unique array of assets and suite of capabilities at London Gateway, the adaptation of HVO helps our customers stay both competitive and carbon efficient in a fast-changing and unpredictable trading environment.”

The sustainability benefits from the transition to HVO at London Gateway will be bolstered by the forthcoming £350m new fourth berth due to open this summer, which will be operated by eight new state-of-the-art fully electric straddle carriers. The £12m investment in the straddle carriers will further support and accelerate London Gateway’s energy transition, forming an integral part of the first all-electric fleet to go into commercial operation at a port anywhere in the world.

In addition to its UK hubs at London Gateway and Southampton, DP World’s offer includes logistics, forwarding and European transport capabilities, all of which are being integrated into the company’s global network. Operating in 78 countries, DP World handles 10 per cent of world trade.

Construction and Dredging Manager wins Outstanding Achievement Award at the BPA Conference

Construction and Dredging Manager wins Outstanding Achievement Award at the BPA Conference

15.11.2023 | Ports

Construction & Dredging Manager wins BPA's Outstanding Achievement Award

Harwich Haven Authority’s, Jim Warner, received recognition at the British Ports Association Conference for his invention, Tiamat – a new form of sustainable dredging.

Jim was delighted to accept the Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his work developing an innovative new dredging technology called Tiamat. Jim invented Tiamat as a new form of hydrodynamic dredging that works with tidal processes to minimise the loss of fine sediments from the estuarine system, supporting the natural evolution of habitats such as mudflats and saltmarsh, which host important populations of water birds and other species.

Prior to the completion of the Authority’s £130 million channel deepening project, which increased the channel depth from 14.5m to 16m below chart datum, around five Trailer Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD) campaigns were typically contracted to remove approx. 2 – 2.5 million m3 of silt from the harbour each year.

The effectiveness of the Tiamat means that in 2024, with the deeper channel, the Authority will be contracting for only 3 TSHD campaigns, alongside 3 Tiamat campaigns. This will reduce the Authority’s dredging costs by two-thirds and lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from maintenance dredging by 65%.

The Authority has been so impressed by the results of the Tiamat in the Haven, that it set up Haven Dredging Ltd, to offer this innovative technology to other dredging authorities, companies, ports and harbours.

As the inventor of the Tiamat, Jim has worked tirelessly to trial, moderate and improve the technology for commercial success. With over 10 years of experience in harbour engineering and more than 30 years of experience in civil engineering and construction, the Authority are immensely proud that Jim’s hard work has been honoured by the BPA.

Jim Warner, Construction and Dredging Manager, said:

“I was delighted to receive the award at last night’s BPA Conference Award ceremony. It was an honour to represent the Authority and be recognised by my peers for my work in the field of dredging, marine surveying and harbour engineering. I am really looking forward to seeing how the new Tiamat technology in the Harwich Haven area progresses and hopefully expands to new clients worldwide.”

Marcus Pearson, Interim ESG Director, said:

“It was great to be with Jim last night at the BPA Conference and fantastic that he was recognised for the Outstanding Achievement Award for all his dedicated work maintaining the navigational channels into Harwich, and also developing new technology with the Tiamat, which will have significant benefits to the environment and in reducing our carbon emissions. I look forward to working with Jim next year as we look into a programme of beneficial use for the dredge materials for a number of projects in the Haven and surrounding coastal areas.”

Sarah West, CEO of Harwich Haven Authority, said:

“The BPA Conference is a prestigious annual event, and we wanted to mark the second year of BPA awards by nominating a member of our team for an Outstanding Achievement.  It was very hard to select just one person when all our colleagues consistently give 110%, however, Jim stood out to us for having delivered significant environmental and cost benefits, both to us a business and potentially to the wider maritime sector too. Jim’s development of the Tiamat technology and subsequent recognition at the BPA awards demonstrate to all his commitment – and Harwich Haven Authority’s support of – positive, environmental change for the port sector.”

Image: Jim Warner, right, receiving his award.

DP World’s £56m crane investment marks a decade of success at London Gateway

DP World’s £56m crane investment marks a decade of success at London Gateway

15.11.2023 | Ports

DP World’s £56m crane investment marks a decade of success at London Gateway

The investment coincides with London Gateway’s tenth anniversary and marks a decade of growth and technological advancements in the UK’s port industry.

DP World last week (7th November) received four new state-of-the-art automated stacking cranes (ASCs) at London Gateway, as it continues to invest in vital infrastructure to support the UK’s supply chain.

The latest investment, totalling £56 million, coincides with the celebration of London Gateway’s tenth anniversary, marking a decade of growth and technological advancements in the UK’s port industry.

The ASCs will move containers from the port yard onto lorries bound for consumer markets across the country. They will service the £350m all-electric new fourth berth – the first of its kind in the world – which will boost capacity at the logistics hub by a third when it opens next year.

London Gateway opened in November 2013 and handled its 11 millionth TEU this year. Its container port is the fastest-growing and most technologically advanced in the UK.

Ahsan Agha, Vice President Port Operations at DP World London Gateway, said: “The arrival of the ASCs marks an exciting moment for London Gateway and DP World in the UK, as we continue to develop our unique end-to-end offering, moving goods seamlessly from the factory floor to the customer door.”

“The pressure to manage costs, maintain reliability and improve speed has never been greater. DP World is building a unique array of assets and a suite of capabilities to help our customers stay competitive in challenging markets. This £56m investment is further proof that we believe in the UK and have the ambition and resources to boost growth, support businesses and create jobs.”

Pioneering Technology and Integration

The ASCs, supplied by Finnish manufacturer Konecranes, represent a significant step towards streamlining operations at London Gateway. Specialist software is being developed to integrate the new ASCs with the existing crane fleet to ensure high levels of productivity and a seamless experience for customers. 

The delivery of the ASCs is just the beginning, as London Gateway awaits the arrival of 14 additional cranes to service the new fourth berth. DP World invested £12m in eight all-electric straddle carriers for London Gateway earlier this year.

In addition to its UK hubs at London Gateway and Southampton, DP World’s offer includes logistics, forwarding and European transport capabilities, all of which are being integrated into the company’s global network. Operating in 78 countries, DP World handles 10 per cent of world trade.