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September 2003

Maher Terminals

At the Maher Terminals facilities in the Port of New York & New Jersey, straddle carrier operations have been developed to a point where they set the standards by which others measure their performance. They are amongst the most productive terminal operations in the world.

Certainly one force behind this development is Mr. George Ferraro, Vice President of Equipment Fleet services at Maher Terminals, whose experience with Kalmar's straddle carriers dates back to the 1970s. Today, his organization of 40 mechanics maintains the smooth running of the terminal handling equipment.

Maher Terminals currently operates 96 Kalmar straddle carriers. These are an eight wheeled, diesel powered mobile units capable of lifting fully loaded 50-ton containers and stacking them three containers high.

During his long career, George Ferraro has built strong ties with Kalmar's factory in Tampere, Finland, where the straddle carrier is produced. He says his temperament gels well with that of the Finnish straddle carrier experts. "I think together we have reached some remarkable results in developing the machine."

"With the fine-tuning of Kalmar's machines, we have been able to increase our operational efficiency and cut maintenance costs. Today, some units have reached up to 4,000 operational hours annually and their operation level has been up to 98%," he adds. "Also, the Kalmar straddle carrier's fuel economy has been very good. We are averaging 3.6 gallons per hour per machine." Two Cummins 6CT8.3L engines are the power units in each of the straddle carriers.

Citing additional improvements that have had great impact, Mr. Ferraro continues: "The rubber suspension was a dramatic change that eliminated hydraulic system problems. This contributed to a significant improvement in overall maintenance costs. Moreover, we've experienced tremendous labor savings because we no longer have to adjust hydraulic suspension heights."

"The use of press-fit chains at the final drive has resulted in longer life and less frequent maintenance. Today, the machine features a new style spreader with external hosing that facilitates maintenance and a central lubrication system that guarantees a 500 hour-service maintenance package. The PLC, which integrates all the straddle carrier's main functions, has been a real asset as well," continues Mr. Ferraro.

Maher Terminals is currently the largest straddle carrier operator in North America and is aiming at being the largest in the world.


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