Inside Logistics

DP World’s Boxbay experiment exceeds expectations

Boxbay turns out to be faster and more energy efficient than anticipated


August 20, 2021
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DP World has completed testing of its Boxbay high bay storage concept at the first full-size facility constructed at Jebel Ali port in Dubai.

The Boxbay system is a giant AS/RS for shipping containers.

More than 63,000 container moves have been completed since the facility, which can hold 792 containers at a time, was commissioned at the beginning of the year.

DP World said the test exceeded expectations with Boxbay turning out to be faster and more energy efficient than anticipated.

Containers stored in racking

Boxbay is a joint venture between DP World and German industrial engineering specialist SMS group. The system stores containers in slots in a steel rack up to eleven high. It delivers three times the capacity of a conventional yard in which containers are stacked directly on top of each other, meaning the footprint of terminals can be reduced by 70 percent.

In Boxbay containers are moved in, out and between slots by fully electrified and automated cranes built into the structure. Individual containers can be accessed without moving any others. The whole system is designed to be fully powered by solar panels on the roof.

“This test proves that Boxbay can revolutionize how ports and terminals operate,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World.

“The technology we have developed with our joint venture partner SMS group dramatically expands capacity, increases efficiency, and makes the handling of containers more sustainable.”

High efficiency

The Boxbay system was able to complete 19.3 moves per hour at each waterside transfer table to the straddle carrier and 31.8 moves per hour at each landside truck crane. Energy costs were 29 percent than anticipated, the company said.

“Boxbay and its partner companies are very pleased with the results of the first six months of operation. In important parameters such as performance, reliability, energy consumption and many more our goals have been exceeded by far,” said Mathias Dobner, chairman and CEO of Boxbay.

“For ports worldwide, this innovative and disruptive technology will not only increase their over-the-quay-wall handling volumes and container storage capacity, but will also allow them to make a further step towards sustainability, as power regeneration and solar panels on the roof help reduce the CO2 footprint to a minimum.”