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Cooper SH handles growth for leading rail freight terminal

Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK’s largest port group, has successfully dealt with a 38 per cent increase in container traffic at its Hams Hall Rail Intermodal Freight Terminal with the support from its specialist materials handling and service provider, Cooper SH.

The Warwickshire-based company has supplied ABP with a range of new equipment and a reconstructed maintenance programme to help it keep up with continued growth at ABP Hams Hall.

The terminal near Birmingham services nearly 4,000 trains and up to 90,000 lorries per year from across the UK. ABP turned to Cooper SH for a solution to help it maintain high levels of productivity and truck efficiency as it saw site traffic significantly increase.

Since 2002 the company has invested in an ongoing expansion programme which has seen operational capacity treble. ABP needed a solution to handle over 100,000 containers per year and in rapid time; Cooper SH supplied two Konecranes ‘second rail’ machines to help ABP keep pace with future demand.

Martin Philpott, ABP Inland Operations Manager Hams Hall, explained: "Rail is becoming the preferred method of freight transportation in the drive to reduce carbon emissions and road congestion. We need to make sure that we have all the necessary measurements in place to meet current and future demand."

The ‘second rail’ machines are part of an eight-strong fleet of mixed equipment. To cope with the surge in demand for its port services, ABP needed to increase the utilisation of these trucks by 66 per cent which meant that the machines need to work up to 70 hours per week and perform in excess of 350,000 lifts per year.

To manage this, Cooper SH appointed a dedicated night engineer in addition to its onsite daytime engineer to keep ABP’s operations running literally night and day.

David Cooper, Managing Director of Cooper SH, commented: "With a greater demand on the machines, our new engineer will perform all necessary preventative maintenance and repairs from 8:00pm until 4:30am. This will ensure that all of the nine machines are ready for the day ahead to maximise truck usage."

Added Martin Philpott: "We are delighted with all the help we have had from Cooper SH. We have a great relationship with them and it’s due to their partnership and professional approach that we awarded them the four year contract mid-way through the existing one."

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