Maritime Transport stacks the intermodal racks with new reachers

Maritime terminal operations. Image: Maritime Transport.

UK-based Maritime Transport has stepped up its game in handling integrated road and rail freight logistics. The Felixstowe-headquartered company has gone large with an order of 14 new reach stackers from manufacturers Kalmar and SANY. The 8 million euro investment will facilitate what the company identifies as the growing demand for rail freight services and the expansion of Maritime’s intermodal network. Maritime recently signed a deal to manage the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) at Northampton Gateway. It is also responsible for the new container storage facility at the Port of Liverpool, which will open later this year.

Maritime has turned to Finland and China to order 14 new reach stackers. The expanding company has been on the phone with Helsinki and Changsha and has placed orders with Kalmar and SANY. The 8 million euro investment will help the company cope with growing market share and demand for intermodal logistics handling. The specialised reach stackers (forklifts on steroids that grab whole shipping containers) will be deployed around the UK at Maritime’s port and inland distribution centres.

Terminals at full potential

Last week’s UK rail freight statistics revealed one sector that is holding up despite all the gloom around the economic climate. Intermodal traffic is performing steadily and is set to grow significantly. The UK government and all the developed governments around the UK have mandated net-zero carbon targets for the logistics and transport industry. Possibly the easiest way to comply with those imperatives is to switch intermodal traffic from road to rail. Maritime already has an aggressive policy of building up its rail-based intermodal business. So it’s no real surprise that the company is actively upgrading its handling capacity, primarily at its rail terminals.

Kalmar making a splash with their Eco Reachstacker range. Image: © Kalmar.

“Sustainable logistics becomes an increasingly popular and necessary model,” said Tom Glenn, the National Plant Manager at Maritime. “This investment will play an important role in our strategy to accelerate modal shift.  SANY and Kalmar machines are renowned for their superior quality performance and reliability. We are excited to integrate them across our terminals to ensure our new and existing facilities are operating at their full potential whilst contributing to lower emissions in our operations.”

Scaling operations sustainably and efficiently

The order is good news for Warwickshire-based Cooper Specialised Handling. The distributors will deliver six SANY reach stackers to support operations at Maritime’s recently expanded terminal at East Midlands Gateway and to the new facilities in Northampton and Liverpool once operational. The distributor says the models on order represent some of the most technologically advanced products on the market. They say they provide greater visibility, faster lift speeds, and a 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption. The details of the order were reported last week by WorldCargo News.Maritime train and SANY reachstaker. Image: © Maritime Transport. 

“Maritime’s choice to procure additional units from SANY is a solid vote of confidence in our equipment’s ability to drive their ambitious growth plans,” said Chris Barnes, UK Sales Director for Cooper. Maritime’s position within the logistics industry is recognised by the supply chain. “It’s SANY’s largest European customer; Maritime’s investment not only demonstrates the performance and reliability of our machinery but also cements our shared commitment to scaling operations sustainably and efficiently,” said Chris Barnes.

Actively investing in intermodal network

Handling containers fast is the key to an efficient intermodal shift to rail. So, coming simultaneously from Finland, is a consist of Kalmar reachstackers. These units will be deployed at MMaritime’srail freight terminal in Wakefield, while a further six will be stationed at Hams Hall, Birmingham. As reported in WCN, KKalmar’sEco reachstacker uses a much smaller engine than traditional solutions, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. IIt’salso easier to operate, with a more comfortable cabin environment. The whole order is to be delivered over the next two years.

Maritime is actively investing in its intermodal network to promote a sustainable modal shift. The ccompany’sappointment as operational manager at Northampton Gateway is a good example. The logistics park and rail terminal are adjacent to the UK motorway network, and also served from a spur off the West Coast Main Line. A rail tunnel was built to facilitate operations, radically increasing the convenience and capacity of the terminal. With sidings accommodating the longest allowable trains on the UK network (775 metres), the fleet of reach stackers will be scurrying up and down most of Northamptonshire to serve the planned four daily trains, with plans for more to follow.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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