Success in the Dark

/ Sustainability

Success in the Dark

Lighting has been drastically reduced at two HHLA container terminals. Their automated areas now operate largely in the dark.

No one needs turn out the lights here, since when night falls much of the Altenwerder (CTA) and Burchardkai (CTB) container terminals remain in the dark. This is to the delight of Jan Hendrik Pietsch, who is responsible for sustainability and energy management at HHLA.

The terminals’ block storage facilities in particular are generally left unlit. They operate automatically and their sensors also work in the dark. Eight storage blocks at CTB offer space for a maximum of 16,300 standard containers (TEU). At CTA, a total of 26 storage block facilities provide space for more than 33,000 standard containers (TEU). The adjoining area where the automated container transporters (AGV) operate at CTA likewise makes do without lighting.

It is not possible to turn off the lighting completely, but this is now only switched on in certain areas and when necessary. For example, for safety reasons containers are always stacked on or removed from trucks via remote control. This work performed at the interface between an automatic machine and humans requires employees who work meticulously and therefore depend on a well-lit working environment.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are used for this purpose nowadays. They consume less energy while providing the same intensity of light. Moreover, LED searchlights immediately reach their full level of brightness when switched on. This is an important advantage over the searchlights previously used, which took several minutes to achieve this. What is more, frequently turning these lights on and off significantly shortened their overall service life.

As well as their switch-on time, the LED spotlights’ power requirements have also been drastically reduced. Together, these two factors have delivered electricity savings of more than 95 percent for lighting the block storage facilities. Jan Hendrik Pietsch notes that the two terminals’ annual electricity consumption has been reduced by approximately two million kilowatt hours.

This not only cuts costs, it also forms part of HHLA’s comprehensive sustainability strategy. “We have set ourselves highly ambitious savings targets,” says Pietsch. “This project provides electricity savings roughly equivalent to the volume used by 500 four-person households per year. The considerable reduction in light emissions is also an important and positive benefit for the terminals’ neighbours, the citizens of the city of Hamburg.” 


Article Photos & Video
Jan Hendrik Pietsch is responsible for sustainability and energy management at HHLA. Formally all storage blocks at the container terminals were always lit at night. Today, light is only used on demand at the automatic storage blocks.