Continental: focus on the Italian port sector

After TOC Europe, we interviewed Simone AlciatiSales Professional CST e Fabio BorelliBusiness Unit Manager Commercial Specialty Tires from Continental Italia, who spoke to us about the Italian situation in the port sector.

How is the Italian port activity structured?

Simone Alciati: Italy is divided into 15 port authorities: some within them have only one port, others more than one, for example, the port authority of the western Ligurian Sea includes Genoa, Savona Prà and Vado Ligure. In Italy, 11 million TEUs are processed each year, that is, 20-foot containers, of which 3 million are in Gioia Tauro, the largest port on the island. This is a really important port, also in terms of surface area, and is the seventh in Europe for commercial traffic. Gioia Tauro acts as a transhipment, ie. as an intermediate port for containers unloaded and transhipped on ships other than the managing port. director of the port has announced plans to also increase the gateway share (passage of containers by road or train). Therefore, further growth is expected in this port.

In second place we have Genoa and Savona: Genoa alone works 2.5 million teu, especially with Pra, while Vado Ligure 240,000 teu, ie 2.8 million teu in total, almost too much for gateway traffic. Followed by Livorno, Carrara, La Spezia, Naples, all ports close to or over a million.

Another part of the quantities in Italy are sold by the importers. Some act as back ports, such as Rivalta Scrivia to Genoa, which for obvious geographical reasons is not able to fully process the containers directly in the ports, while others are far from the ports. There are 24 official interports in Italy.

In Italy, whether we are talking about ports or ports, most of the containers are processed on rubber: the main machines used are reach stackers, which Continental offers ContainerMaster for, or with RTG (rubber tire gantry crane), rubber tires with CraneMaster. Some Straddle Carriers are also starting to be seen, as the German company offers StraddleMaster for.

What are the most used decks in Italy for the port segment?

Simone Alciati: We can tire the whole terminal. As far as our market is concerned, the most commonly used sizes are those for reach stakers, from 24 to 33 inches in E4 with ContainerMaster, in 12.00-24, 14.00-24, 16.00-25, 18.00-25 and 18.00-33. This tire is produced in both radial and conventional versions. The advantage of the radial is that it produces less heat, so it lasts longer. RTGs are machines on wheels with CraneMaster, which have an E3 code. CraneMaster is a product dedicated to vehicles working at a standstill, that is, the actual activities do when they are stationary. This tire is offered in sizes 14.00-24, 16.00-25 and 18.00-25. Another tire used in Italian ports, on fifth wheels in this case, is TerminalMaster, which has a very low speed code but a high load index. It is a product suitable for the reversing wheel, which works with double containers, for very large terminals.

In addition to tires, an important focus for TOC digital solutions was.

Fabio BorelliBusiness Unit Manager Commercial specialty tires from Continental Italia

Fabio Borelli: Absolutely, today there is no port without digital solutions. Continental radial door decks leave the Lousado factory already sensored, while the conventional ones do not, but they can be equipped with sensors. The minimum level is the handheld device for reading pressure and temperature instead of the pressure gauge. Then you go up: read data from the cabin, via a display with alarms, send data to the fleet manager portal. To read the data, 2 solutions are available: the first is a fixed farm reader platform, which reads the data as the machines pass. We use this system in Malta, with excellent results. We have also added the feature to turn off the vehicle when a minimum pressure threshold is reached.

The second data transmission system, which is only available for the CST segment and not for the truck, is the sharing of data via GPS to the remote system.

Basically, we go from monitoring every single machine to the entire fleet. The management must give the manager the opportunity to remotely monitor the entire fleet without having to stop the machines. Moreover, in the future we will no longer talk about monitoring, which by definition means checking the current state of things, but about predictive analysis. We are working on a sensor that, for example, calculates the remaining tread of the tires. We are therefore talking about efficiency, consumption, service life, maintenance.

One major problem that tire manufacturers face today is product availability. How is Continental positioned from this point of view?

Fabio Borelli: Especially for the CST segment, this topic is mixed with an important product demand. When we talk about the port, we are in full progress phase: the product’s performance is excellent, we have expanded the range in 2019 2020 with radial products, it is almost natural that these factors have led to a large growth in sales. In addition, we record a physiological market demand that literally exploded in the post-pandemic.

All this collides with what is happening upstream: It is no secret that there are difficulties in finding the raw material, as the coal variety comes from Eastern Europe. And that only applies to European facilities, while for Asian facilities there is also the issue of congestion in the ports. In Europe, only 4 out of 10 deliveries arrive on time.

How important is the tire dealer in the maintenance of door tires?

Simone Alciati: The tire dealer, who for us in the CST segment is a real service provider, is fundamental. Some terminals work independently on decks up to 24 inches, but for the others it is the service provider, with mobile workshops that takes care of the maintenance.

Where are we with market share and what are the next steps?

Fabio Borelli: We are relatively young in the port business area, as we only returned in 2013 and only launched radials in 2019. Especially since the launch of the radials and onwards, we have registered a continuous and sustained growth in our market shares. Also in 2021, we will continue to grow, double-digit.

Now we are also working on the original equipment: A Kalmar reachstacker with the conventional ContainerMaster, which is just original equipment, was exhibited at the fair. We also supply CVS Ferrari in Italy, but we also want to grow a lot on the OE side.

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