KCI Konecranes has received its largest order ever for rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGs). The Israel Ports Authority (IPA) has placed an order for 24 new generation RTGs with Konecranes VLC.

IPA also reserved an option to buy 15 further RTGs. The order (excluding the option) is worth approximately Euro 29m. Deliveries will start in April 2004, Konecranes said.

‘Since introducing of our new RTG design eight years ago we have seen rapid growth in our share of the market,’ said Konecranes VLC managing director Mikko Uhari. ‘The world market for RTGs is approximately 300 units per year and during the last 12 months Konecranes VLC has sold 75 RTGs. We are very proud of this development.’

The order for the 24 RTGs is part of a huge port expansion programme at Israel Ports Authority that will expand and modernise existing ports and reduce waiting times for ships. IPA owns, operates and manages Israel’s commercial seaports in Haifa, Ashdod and Eilat. Cargo growth is expected to increase by an annual average of 6% in the coming years. Total investment over the period 2003-2007 will amount to $900m, according to Konecranes.

The RTGs have been ordered for the new Hayovel project at Ashdod port. Ashdod is Israel’s leading port for handling general cargo, minerals and containers and is one of the few deep-water ports in the world to be built in open sea.

The 16-wheel RTGs have a lifting height of 50 feet and a span of 74 feet. The cranes will be one-over-four containers high and six-plus-truck lane wide. Handling efficiency is achieved by high hoist, trolley traverse and gantry speeds. The RTGs will be equipped with such features as a GPS based container positioning system and autosteering, sway prevention and fine positioning systems. All features are electromechanical, with no hydraulics involved. Eliminating the hydraulic systems (except in the spreader) and using AC drives significantly reduces the maintenance costs of the RTGs, Konecranes says.