An inexpensive piece of equipment introduced in our Sokhna terminal in Egypt has improved safety by reducing the risk of container stacks toppling.

Stopping toppling in Sokhna

Our challenge

Shipping containers are lifted and stacked using a device called a spreader, attached to a crane.

Risk analysis and historical data highlighted the opportunity to improve the stability of container stacks and further protect the health and safety of workers when a container is added or moved.

Our solution

Our Sokhna team came up with a system of laser sensors fixed on the spreader. These measure the distance between the spreader and the next container, and slow down or stop the trolley which moves the spreader if they get too close.

When the distance between the spreader and the nearest container is 6 metres, the trolley speed is slowly decreased to 50% of its maximum allowable speed. At 2.5 metres, the trolley is brought to a stop, and an alarm is activated. If a sensor fails, the trolley will be stopped automatically.

Similar industrial safety systems exist in other ports, however this solution is much less expensive, working out at less than US$1,000 per spreader, while still being just as effective.

Our results

The system is working effectively, and we expect it to prevent at least four toppling incidents per year. This will lead to significant cost savings, but more importantly will reduce the risk of incidents.