PROJECT CARGO/HEAVY LIFT - Kalmar moves new toplift into Long Beach terminal

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): Maritime  Ports & Terminals  

By Paul Scott Abbott, AJOTBefore Kalmar Industries Corp. could put the first of its new-generation toplifts to work at the Port of Long Beach, the 77-ton unit had to get from a manufacturing facility in the forest of Sweden to the US West Coast load center – a heavylift project in and of itself.
The 10-week process is one that officials of the Tampere, Finland-based firm are hoping to see repeated many times as they roll out their high-productivity DCF series product. The units are designed specifically for the North American market, although company officials said early orders also have come in from other parts of the world, including Italy.
The delivery process to Long Beach entailed a number of steps, according to Jason Gasparik, Kalmar’s Tacoma, WA-based West Coast port division sales manager and sales engineer.
After having been fully assembled for purposes of testing at the factory in Lidhult, Sweden, the toplift was dissembled into four parts – the chassis, the mast, the gantry and the spreader. Those parts were then put into three trailers. The chassis with lowered cab was driven into one trailer; the gantry and spreader were loaded into a second trailer; and the mast occupied the third trailer.
The three trailers were trucked to the Port of Göteborg (Gothenburg), where they were loaded aboard a Wallenius Wilhelmsen vessel for the ocean journey to Port Hueneme, 90 miles northwest of Long Beach. From Port Hueneme, they were hauled by truck to their destination, where a 100-ton-lift-capacity crane was used to set up the machine for final assembly.
Ed Mitchell, senior manager for corporate planning for International Transportation Service (ITS), said the unit went into service almost immediately after its late November arrival and demonstration. He added, “It has been used every day since.”
ITS is terminal operator for the 246-acre Pier J facility, which encompasses nine berths served by 16 gantry cranes, at the Port of Long Beach. Lines served include “K” Line, COSCO, Yang Ming, Hanjin, Hamburg Süd, CP Ships, Maruba, Polynesia Lines, OOCL, NYK Line, P&O Nedlloyd and Hapag Lloyd.
The new DCF 410 makes the Kalmar toplift contingent at the ITS Long Beach terminal an even dozen, eclipsing the nine in place at the facility for competitor Taylor Machine Works International Inc.
“In 2000, we took a considerable risk when we transitioned from Taylor to Kalmar,” said Mitchell, “and it has paid off.”
Spurred by ever-increasing demand for Asian imports, “Business is growing hand-over-fist” at the terminal. ITS already has bids out for additional toplift units, according to Mitchell.
“When you’re spending close to half a million dollars or more on these machines, it’s important,” Mitchell commented in regard to the bid process.
Of the Kalmar DCF 410 toplift, Mitchell said, “We were impressed with it. It’s certainly a larger machine, with many new features that make it stand above the competition and even other Kalmar equipment.”
Mitchell cited its faster hoist speed (as much as 50% faster than its predecessor), greater lifting capacity (up to 45 metric tons when lifting a 9-foot-6-inch-high box to the five-high position), increased stability and enhanced ergonomics, including wider view angles for the operator. Also, he said, a reduction in the number of hydraulic lines and other factors should help lessen maintenance needs.
Al McDougall, Kalmar’s ports division sales manager for the Americas for counterbalanced product, cited numerous other advantages as the firm formally announced the introduction of the DCF series machines on Nov. 29 at the TOC Americas Terminal Operations Conference and Exhibition in Savannah, GA.
McDougall, a 30-year industry veteran who now is based in Cypress, TX, noted such factors as the unit’s cleaner-operating “tier 3” Cummings engine, a 260-gallon fuel tank that affords longer running time, its roomier and quieter

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For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Scott Abbott has been writing and shooting images for the American Journal of Transportation, applying four decades of experience as an award-winning journalist. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a master’s magna cum laude from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Abbott has served as president of chapters of the Propeller Club of the United States, Florida Public Relations Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Abbott honed his skills on several daily newspapers, including [em]The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Albuquerque Journal and (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, and was editor and publisher of The County Line, a weekly newspaper he founded in suburban Richmond, Va.[/em] A native Chicagoan, he is a member of American Mensa and an ever-optimistic fan of the Chicago Cubs.