BoxBay storage system passes testing milestone

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
The BoxBay system under construction at Jebel Ali. (DP World image)

The BoxBay high-bay container storage demonstration system at Jebel Ali in Dubai has completed 10,000 container moves.

Construction of the test facility with 792 container slots was completed in July last year in Jebel Ali’s Terminal 4.

“Seeing the new system set up within just one year was really impressive,” said Klaus Poeggeler, general site manager of DP World’s partner in the project, SMS group company AMOVA GmbH.

“Nevertheless, safety of the teams on site has always had top priority. We didn’t have a single accident during the complete assembly and installation phase – not even a cut in a finger.”

BoxBay is a patented automated container handling system that stores containers up to eleven stories high in steel racks. It delivers more than three times the capacity of a conventional yard, so the footprint of terminals can be reduced by up to 70 percent. The system is designed to run automatically and enables any container to be accessed individually without moving any other.

“We have been making great progress in setting up the system in Terminal 4. Usually, when setting up a new plant or system, you first have to run practical tests to find out where further optimization will be needed – especially, when the system you are building is the very first one of its type, as is the case with BoxBay,” said Mathias Dobner, chairman and CEO of BoxBay.

“In order to enhance the reliability of the technology, we have been thoroughly analyzing the information collected by our warehouse management system. These were immense amounts of data. But they enabled us to make adjustments continuously wherever necessary.”

The technology behind BoxBay was originally developed by SMS Group for handling metal coils that weigh as much as 50 tonnes in racks as high as 50 metres. The system will be demonstrated to the public in Dubai in October.

Traditionally containers are stacked one on top of the other in rows meaning many containers have to be moved to access containers lower down in the stacks. BoxBay is designed to be fully electrified and can be powered by solar panels on its roof.

“The completion of the first 10,000 moves demonstrates that the BoxBay concept works in the real world,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World.

“This technology has the potential to revolutionize how ports and terminals operate around the world.”