Customer Reference Story

Portwise to assist in the conceptual layout review of Freightliner site

Picture: With full UK coverage, Freightliner has the capability to move, store, repair and maintain their customers’ containers – servicing more than 2 million maritime containers every single year.  

For decades, Freightliner have been turning knowledge, ideas, and technology into pioneering logistics solutions. This resulted in them becoming the largest intermodal freight operator in the UK. Freightliner transport over 770K containers annually between maritime terminals and final destination as well as supporting nationwide heavy haul rail transportation.

At Freightliner, technology has always been embraced to enable the company to succeed in their mission of being the safest and most respected transportation service provider in the world. An example of that is the automated gate system where they can quickly and accurately register containers entering and exiting the terminals. A logical next step was to discover automation of both yard and rail equipment.

When Freightliner was looking into future development of a new terminal in the northwest of England, they asked Portwise to assist in the conceptual layout review of the site. A key factor here was to have the site future-proofed, meaning that the terminal would operate effectively and efficiently, not only today, but also tomorrow.

As an expert in this area, Portwise combines extensive automation and operation knowledge with the latest simulation tools to design an optimal balance between performance, cost, and capacity. Especially when terminal development projects are strategically important with high investments and longtime horizons, such as this development of Freightliner. During the design study, the Portwise team took the following key intermediate steps to provide insights to Freightliner to support them in their decision-making process of the preferred layout.

  • The design study departed from current and projected future inputs and operation assumptions to consider as design targets and parameters.
  • Several rounds of high-level rail capacity dynamic simulations were conducted to determine the rail handling capacity and rail crane demands.
  • Several scenarios were examined, including the projected amount of trains/day base case with varying volumes, and a maximum trains/day scenario.
  • A stepwise and iterative layout concept design and comparison approach was undertaken from first layout ideas and initial comparisons of feasible alternative layout concepts.
  • Portwise shortlisted a subset of alternatives for further detailing and assessment with variations, working closely with the Freightliner team and their updated input.
  • The results and insights were presented to the Freightliner team to reach a conclusion on the choice of the preferred layout concept.
  • Strategically important for Freightliner is their route to net zero. Therefore, the study Portwise conducted did include the consideration of the possibility for future electrification for their decarbonisation agenda.

“We have had a great collaboration with the specialists of Portwise. The terminal layout concept that was presented by the Portwise simulation team balances perfectly between our supported capacities, financial viability and operational flexibility. It really helped us to start our site development from a solid foundation based on a future-proofed layout.”

Matthew Hill, Group Property Manager at Freightliner

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