International Technology Award Win for Port of Liverpool

Peel Ports picked up a prestigious industry accolade last week for software systems at the iconic Port of Liverpool building.

Peel Ports and IT software supplier DBIS received the IT Solutions award at the International Bulk Journal Awards 2014 in Rotterdam for the CommTrac system operating at its Agri-Bulk terminals in Liverpool and Manchester.

The grain terminal and animal feed terminals in Liverpool are the UK’s largest Agri-Bulk import facilities, with a continuous unloader and four dedicated mobile harbour cranes, together supporting a capacity of 168,000 tonnes of grain and over 500,000 sq ft of animal feed storage. The two terminals handle a combined throughput of over 3 million tonnes of cargo per year.

CommTrac preselects, by commodity, available conveying routes for grain and animal feed, completely eliminating the risk of cross contamination. Developed specifically for Peel Ports, it is the only bulk terminal management system that is fully integrated into the automation layer, providing an efficient, streamlined and cost-effective solution to port-side logistics.

The software integrates conveyor control systems, hopper scales and weigh bridges and provides the terminal management team with real-time information, which can be tracked against operational, business development and financial measures to continually improve the level of service and productivity provided by terminals.

Port Director at Peel Ports Mersey, David Huck, said:

“It was a great night for the Port of Liverpool and the whole team behind this development, and we’re really honoured to have collected this award. The system is part of our ongoing innovation programme at the Port of Liverpool and Manchester Ship Canal and highlights one of our major priorities, which is to invest heavily in our customers through IT and supporting infrastructure.

“The greater use of automation and other smart technologies to strengthen our operations is one of the key drivers of efficiency and nowhere is this strategy more important than in our new Liverpool2 container terminal, which will open next year.”

A new fleet of ship-to-shore (STS) and cantilevered-rail-mounted-gantry (CRMG) cranes will be supported by a multimillion pound investment in state-of-the-art quayside facilities and support technology, including a fully-integrated Navis N4 terminal operating system, autogates and ABB equipment controls. Together, the investments will make the Port of Liverpool one of the most operationally efficient and modern terminals in Northern Europe.

Peel Ports was also nominated in two further categories.

Dave McEwan, the Engineering Manager for the Agri-Bulk facility in Liverpool, was named a finalist for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Having started his career as an apprentice, Dave has worked for 46 years at the Port of Liverpool, implementing new technologies, processes and procedures.

The company’s apprentice programme was also shortlisted for The People Development Award. Now in its fourth year, the programme is designed to secure a skilled and experienced workforce for the future. Delivered over four years, with Mersey Engineering College North West, it includes training in all aspects of engineering, resulting in nationally recognised formal qualifications as well as the personal and team-working skills required.

The Port of Liverpool currently handles a diverse range of cargo, including bulk solids and liquids, RORO and containers. In 2012 it was named by leading industry journal Containerisation International as Port Authority of the Year in recognition of its progressive and innovative approach “beyond the port gates”.

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