Recycling cranes sustainably

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Decommissioning cranes at the Port of Immingham

Three Gottwald cranes, weighing in collectively at 900 tonnes, are being decommissioned after 40,000 hours of service each at Associated British Port’s (ABP) Port of Immingham – but nothing is going to waste.

As part of sustainability the 60-metre-high HMK 260 cranes are being stripped of their parts and what is left will be cut up and sent to the scrapyard for recycling. Operationally, the port still has some of the same models in service, so parts have been retained to reduce future maintenance costs.

Simon Bird, Director of the Humber ports said: “We’ve been investing significantly in cranes, and with the three new Liebherr cranes on site and working, we can now retire these Gottwald ones.

With our sustainability strategy we have been able to salvage about £250,000 worth of parts from these cranes which will be utilised in our robust maintenance programme to ensure similar models can be kept in service until it’s time to retire them.”

Simon added, “It’s part of our wider strategy investment in future proofing the Humber ports and giving our customers the confidence that the ports remain resilient, and we are giving them what they need in having reliable and efficient cranage.

The new Liebherr cranes are more energy efficient running on hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) with an option to switch to all electric.” 

The Gottwalds, dating from 2002, were replaced by Liebherr 420 mobile harbour cranes, an investment of £9.7 million. They arrived in November 2022 and can offer greater versatility being deployed on any quay, though primarily used for bulk cargo handling and scrap handling.

The new cranes use the Liebherr hybrid system which comprises of a diesel generator which runs on HVO and the option to switch to all electric, which achieves a greater performance while reducing fuel consumption at the same time. The sustainable hybrid drive reduces the emission of CO2 and other harmful substances but also gives more power. 

This is all part of ABP’s £32 million investment in port equipment in the Humber to maintain customer demand as part of a wider Group investment.

Crane deconstruction specialists, BDB Dismantling Ltd of Barnsley have secured the tender as principal contractor to dismantle the cranes and break them down into smaller components. Some of the salvage includes drive axles, electrical items, cameras, monitors, joysticks, and an entire luffing ram system including hydraulics.

More new equipment and cranes are in the pipeline for delivery, including a new mobile harbour crane currently being built in Sunderland, which will arrive in the Port of Hull later this year.