The Port of Felixstowe has taken delivery of its first two remote control ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

The two new cranes, the 32nd and 33rd at the UK’s largest container port, were delivered on the Zhen Hua 23 from ZPMC in Shanghai.

With most of the crane cycle handled automatically, the crane operator’s main task is to supervise the process and take action only when required.

Operators supervise the crane motion via onboard cameras and remote control station, which is very useful in the case of longer distances, where the abilities of human eyes become a limitation due to the physical distance between the cabin and the target container.

Combined with access to information provided by the automation system, the camera views help to improve the overall operator performance.

Remote crane operation allows the operator to be separated from a dangerous and harsh working environment to the safety and comfort of a control room.

The crane can run faster and ramp times and cycle times become shorter, which reduces the time needed for discharging and loading the ships, and minimises health problems caused by poor working environment.

The new cranes are capable of working vessels with containers stowed 11-high and 24-wide on deck.

Commenting on the new cranes, Clemence Cheng, CEO of the Port of Felixstowe and executive director, Hutchison Ports, said: “These new cranes are the latest acquisition in our ongoing investment programme to provide the best equipment, infrastructure and systems for our customers. They will further enhance our capability to work multiple mega-vessels simultaneously.

“Remote control quay cranes have been pioneered at other Hutchison Ports terminals. Their introduction at Felixstowe will improve the working conditions of the drivers, enhance safety and benefit communications within operational teams.”