BOXBAY wins German Logistics prize

BOXBAY, a revolutionary automated, safe and environmentally friendly High Bay Storage (HBS) container yard stacking system, has won the German Award for Supply Chain Management 2022.

DP World developed BOXBAY in a joint venture with industrial engineering specialists SMS group. They were presented with the award at a ceremony in Berlin after being selected by a jury of industry leaders as part of the International Supply Chain Conference.

The award recognised the system as an “exemplary concept” developed and implemented despite the recent challenges faced by the industry. It offers an innovative solution to some of the key challenges in container port logistics, combining increased efficiency with environmental targets.

The massive steel structure contains stacking cranes running between rows of container bays. It works like a library -- except each book can weigh 40 tonnes. Each container is stacked in an individual bay while the stacking cranes glide between them, picking out any container without having to move the boxes above or below it. This eliminates the unproductive reshuffling seen in conventional storage systems.

Because the steel frame holds the boxes, rather than stacking containers on top of each other, the storage system can be scaled for any location. It can be built up to 11 levels, roughly 50 metres high, increasing the density of the yard without adding to its footprint.

A conventional yard with rubber tyred gantry cranes can store around 750 TEUs per hectare. However, with BOXBAY, a yard can quadruple this figure, holding up to 3,000 TEUs per hectare.

Thanks to full automation and digitalisation, quayside trans-shipment speeds can be increased by up to 20% – a major economic advantage for the cost-intensive container shipping sector. It also uses solar power generated by photovoltaic panels on the roof of the storage system, so it can run in a CO2-neutral way.

Tiemen Meester, DP World’s Chief Operating Officer, Ports & Terminals said: “This is an exciting time for DP World and BOXBAY. Our pilot in Jebel Ali has been in operation since January 2021, and the system is being put to the test by leading global port operators. Several projects are currently in the design, layout, or budgeting phase.”

Burkhard Dahmen, CEO of SMS Group said: “We are very proud that our BOXBAY technology convinced the jury. The award also represents a huge success and motivation for the whole team. BOXBAY can make container handling in ports much more efficient while at the same time contributing to the decarbonisation of supply chains.”

SMS group originally developed the storage system to handle metal coils that can weigh up to 40 tonnes. Having proven the technology in the metals industry, it was refined for port logistics. DP World and SMS built a pilot facility at Jebel Ali’s Terminal-4 in January 2021. By the end of June this year 2022, 150,000 container movements were carried out under realistic operating conditions and verified the market maturity of the system.