Intermodal Terminal Equipment
A variety of equipment can be used to perform intermodal operations
at a terminal. The choice of equipment is related to a number of factors
in terms of capital investment, volume, stacking density and productivity.
- The fork lift
(not shown) can be considered the most basic piece of intermodal
equipment but has limitations to be able to handle only loaded 20 foot
containers or empty containers of other dimensions.
- The straddle carrier is a flexible piece of
equipment that can be used for all intermodal operations such as
loading/loading railcars and trucks as well as stacking
containers up to three in height depending if the straddle
carrier is a 3-high or 4-high. So, depending on the straddle
carrier type, the stacking density may vary between 500 and 700
TEU per hectare.
- The reach stacker (also known as a side
loader) is also a flexible piece
of equipment performing intermodal operations for rail and
trucks as well as the stacking of containers. Since reach stackers are limited
to stacks of three full containers (four or five empty) they can support a stacking
density of 500 TEU per hectare.
- The rubber-tired gantry (RTG) is a fixed
intermodal piece of equipment that is used for loading and
unloading railcars from trucks in high density terminals as it
can span over up to 4 rail tracks. It is also used for stacking
operations where it can manage densities of up to 1,000 TEU per
hectare with stacks of up to 4 full containers or 5 empty
containers. It can service 8 to 9 trucks per hour,
which involves 30 to 40 container movements since containers
need to be reshuffled within their stacks. The RTG has higher acquisition costs, but lower
operational costs, and fits well regular container yard
- The rail-mounted gantry (RMG) is a fixed
piece of intermodal equipment that is widespan and can be used
for intermodal operations over 6 to 10 rail tracks. While they
tend to be mostly used at port terminals for operations over
large container stacks, new intermodal rail terminals are
increasingly relying on RMGs to perform intermodal operations
over a series of train tracks, often with some below crane space
for track-side stacking. A RMG used solely for stacking can
accommodate densities above 1,000 TEU per hectare (4 full or 5
- A portainer is a gantry crane strictly used
to load and unload containerships and comes in different size
based upon the ship class they can accommodate. While a Panamax
portainer can accommodate ships up to 13 containers in width,
a Post-Panamax portainer reaches up to 18 containers alongside.
The latest class of portainers is dubbed "Super Post Panamax"
and can handle the latest generation of containerships of 12,500
TEU by being able to span up to 22 containers. Containers have
to be brought to the portainer by holsters using chassis or by