The Port of Algeciras, located on the strategic Strait of Gibraltar, saw a volume of over 100 million tonnes and 4.4 million TEUs pass through this Spanish port in 2017. To put it into a European perspective, Algeciras comes just behind Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg. The question for the Port today is how to manage this volume of traffic with the utmost security and safety.

Kalmar provides ship-to-shore services at the APM Terminals facilities in Algeciras. “Our mission is the maintenance of all the equipment, some of it manufactured by Kalmar itself and some by other clients to transfer containers from ship to lorry,” explained Berceruelo at an event during the Global Safety Day organised by APM Terminals at The Port of Algeciras.

On a daily basis, this means a 24 hour, non-stop service.  When an RTG gets a flat tyre, we can use one of Kalmar's innovations in Algeciras - an emergency truck with all the necessary equipment to handle with the utmost safety any problems that arise.

Raúl Ruiz, Head of Service for Terminal Tractors Maintenance in Kalmar Algeciras, explains, "When we acquired the tyre maintenance contract, we noticed that there was no machine available to deal with problems - tyre punctures or low air pressure for example."

Ruiz points out that it is now possible to carry out all work in a safe environment, avoiding potential accidents on the docks.  Prior to the arrival of Kalmar, a flat tyre required a trip to a garage. Now it's done on site in a safe environment.

The truck is equipped with everything needed:  compressor generator, LED lighting bulbs, a complete replacement set of tyres, even a mobile "cage" so inflation is performed correctly and in a controlled manner. The cage is placed next to the wheel, where a worker carries out the inflation at a safe distance, thanks to a 15-meter reel. In the past, wheels were manipulated in the yard with a pressure of around 10 bars. With the features of this assistance truck, the work can be done at 2.5 bars. "That is the pressure of a bicycle wheel," Ruiz reminds us.

Nearly accident free

Berceruelo characterises the truck as a reflection of the level of safety Kalmar achieves at the terminals. "It has gone through solid testing and certification, it is used daily and fortunately, we have never had any problems."

"Our first commandment is safety. The systems that Kalmar is applying minimise accidents while considerably upgrading speed and efficiency. The client has taken note of this and we have received due praise from them," he adds.

Berceruelo emphasises that all these measures guarantee employee protection. "We seek the highest quality in our equipment and machinery. All are top brands with a level of protection that exceed the minimum requirement."

Personal Protective Equipment also delivers improvements in providing safety for every employee: safety work shoes in tension of up to 20,000 volts, welding helmets that are automatically regulated depending on the intensity of light, mallets that absorb the inertia of the impacts for lower impact on the arms and shoulders. In addition, prevention courses are offered periodically to train and update workers on safety.  All of this, according to Berceruelo, "make Kalmar an absolute leader in Europe and the brand of reference in Spain".

Standardisation translates into greater safety

"Standardisation is another major factor in innovating safety as an essential element, according to Luis Vega, Spare Parts Coordinator. "Implementing new innovations without technical controls or technical studies is not useful because everything has to be approved by a certifying body to be valid."

According to Vega, respect for international regulations and interoperability makes Kalmar's innovations implementable even on machines made by other manufacturers. Personnel Proximity Systems is one example. It can provide cover around the machine up to 360 degrees using cameras with sensors. The Kalmar reverse warning system, for example, sounds an alarm if any object or person comes too close. 

Ultimately, it is continuous work, Ruiz stresses. "These innovations never have an end. We are always looking to go further and higher, he sums up.

From left: Luis Vega, Raúl Ruiz and Carlos Berceruelo