APM Terminals and DP World to Switch Box Handlers from Diesel to Electric

container handling equipment
The research estimates that there are 100,000 to 120,000 pieces of container handling equipment that could be converted starting in 2 to 8 years to electric (DP World)

Published Oct 26, 2023 7:33 PM by The Maritime Executive


APM Terminals and DP World, two of the leading operators of shipping terminals worldwide, are planning to accelerate the decarbonization of their terminals and port operations through the widespread electrification of container handling equipment. The companies announced their support for the research findings and roadmap for electrification of the equipment outlined in a white paper that is also endorsed by Eurogate, the Port of Kalundborg, Denmark, and Smart Freight Centre.

The companies highlighted that the research demonstrates that the challenges hampering the uptake of battery-electric container handlers can be mostly overcome. They believe that the “tipping point” for battery-electric container handlers can be reached within the next two to eight years.

“Let me be clear: we need to accelerate our work in decarbonization, and we need to do it now,” Keith Svendsen, CEO of APM Terminals, an A.P. Moller-Maersk company. “I am happy to say the research we conducted through Systemiq and ZEnMo strongly backs that a tipping point for the electrification for CHE is within reach in this decade. We are now calling for action for the entire port ecosystem to accelerate towards this milestone.”

They believe that it will be possible to replace the diesel-operated equipment with battery-electric handlers. They highlight the significant contribution that this step will make by citing estimates that between 100,000 and 120,000 handlers are operating at the world’s 940 container ports. They believe that this equipment is responsible for 10 to 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually (scope 1 and scope 2).

"Battery-electric equipment in ports is a realistic, achievable, and affordable way to dramatically reduce carbon emissions,” says Tiemen Meester, COO of Ports & Terminals, DP World. “Throughout my career, I've seen many industry players talk about various methods for achieving net zero, but I've never been so convinced by one tactic's ability to accelerate decarbonization.”

APM Terminals and DP World are encouraging industry peers to review the research and support its goals. As a next step, the partners are preparing to mobilize industry-wide collaboration around container handler electrification and zero-emission port operations. They note that the research shows that key levers and related actions can be taken by the players across the value chain including terminal operators, OEMs, port authorities, affiliated government entities, and shipping line operators, to accelerate decarbonization.