Over the years, our industry has made tremendous strides in developing the eco-efficiency of cargo and material handling through more efficient machines, optimisation of cargo flows, as well as intelligent equipment and automation. This work continues at full speed, and with new and more advanced technologies we will continue to get more for less, especially in terms of saving energy. However, we are also seeing completely new opportunities for the next step – all-electric container handling.
One of the most important drivers of this development is the coming legislation in California, which will introduce highly ambitious plans to reduce air pollution in port operations by moving towards zero-emissions through electrically powered technologies. Two years from now, the major ports in the area will mandate only zero-emission or near-zero emission horizontal transport equipment in new procurement, and by 2030, their drayage fleets must be fully zero-emission at source. This really means no diesel power and no hybrids but electrically powered options.
But sunny California is not the only place where this trend is picking up. We are already now seeing a strong interest from many regions also outside US, and manufacturers around the world are moving fast to meet the growing demand for all-electric cargo handling equipment. So is Kalmar – so stay tuned for more news in the weeks and months to come.
Exciting avenues for development
The drive towards electrically powered equipment opens up some very exciting avenues for development. In addition to newly built machines, we are beginning to see upgrade paths from diesel to zero-emissions technologies in existing equipment, similarly to what we can already accomplish with RTG cranes.
Another very interesting area is the ongoing development of fuel cells. Eco-efficient drivelines are already available – make no mistake – but the most important question over the next decades may be what form it takes. Will fuel cells eventually gain ground over other solutions, and will there be just one dominant or several energy sources coexisting as part of a larger eco-efficient logistics infrastructure? Time will tell.
Whatever the future brings, it will hold some great possibilities for companies willing to take a leadership role in developing eco-efficient solutions and even rethinking their business models. At Kalmar, we have a huge opportunity to help our industry improve the operational efficiency of cargo handling and we are building our eco-efficiency offering around three themes – systems efficiency, energy efficiency and resource efficiency. Systems efficiency refers to solutions that use technology and data to optimise operational eco-efficiency. Energy efficiency refers to industry shaping solutions that minimise the environmental impact of customer operations, and resource efficiency includes upgrades and refurbishments that extend the equipment life by making resources last longer.
We believe the future is all-electric and will continue to drive the eco-efficiency of cargo and material handling through new solutions that will help our customers meet the tightening regulations and growing demand coming from society at large.
As for myself, I have a clear target on a personal level: I want to leave the world to my three grandchildren in the same shape I inherited it. Can you think of a better idea on which to build the future of your business?