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Irish Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, visited LPC’s MidlandPort in June to see the new Combi-XC in action

Irish delegation visits MidlandPort to see new Combilift Xpress

Lyttelton Port Company and MidlandPort have welcomed Irish Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, and Enterprise Ireland CEO, Julie Sinnamon, onto their Rolleston site to see their new acquisition – the Combilift Xpress container straddle carrier – in action.

The Irish delegates, led by Mrs Humphreys, were on a week-long trade mission to New Zealand in mid-June, visiting Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch, and also attended Fieldays, to discuss post-Brexit trade opportunities.

A long-time supporter of Irish forklift manufacturer Combilift, the world’s largest manufacturer of multi-directional forklifts, Mrs Humphreys was keen to see one of the company’s latest exports to this country in action and specifically requested a visit to MidlandPort, where they have recently acquired the new Combilift Xpress container straddle carrier (the Combi-XC) – the first of its type to be delivered to the Southern Hemisphere.

Efficient movements

MidlandPort is Lyttelton Port Company’s (LPC) inland port at Rolleston and is strategically positioned to offer shippers in the Canterbury region unparalleled connectivity to all transport modes throughout the South Island. Located next to the main trunk rail line and State Highway 1, and directly connected to the iPort industrial and logistics park, MidlandPort offers exclusive access to the port at Lyttelton via a dedicated rail shuttle.

“Combined with our extensive facilities and neighbouring developments, a supply chain that includes MidlandPort can be optimised to ensure that containers are moved to and from ports at the lowest cost,” says LPC general manager inland ports Sean Bradley.

One of MidlandPort’s key services is receiving, storing and consolidating containers, and it acts as a distribution point where containers are transferred between trucks and rail. The safe, efficient and timely movement of containers around the inland port is key.

The LPC team were looking for a new machine that would transport shipping containers more efficiently between MidlandPort and iPort, and after a global search, Combilift was shortlisted with a number of other potential suppliers. LPC went through a selection process and determined that the new Combi-XC was the best equipment solution for their needs.

Introducing the Combi-XC

The Combi-XC is a rapid-speed container-moving straddle carrier, specifically designed and engineered to move containers from ground level up. It can lift 20 ft, 40 ft and 45 ft containers with its auto top-lift spreader up to 35,000 kg payload. The spreader side-shifts 400 mm left and right to allow easy alignment and accurate placement of containers. Featuring four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering and four-wheel braking, the Combi-XC offers exceptional visibility for the operator, with easy access to the operator’s cabin. 

The Combi-XC carries containers end on, which means it can move containers along smaller roadways and through narrower gates compared to a reach stacker

“The Combi-XC is designed to easily move empty and fully-laden containers around with maximum visibility and manoeuvrability, which serves to improve safety and efficiency,” says Dave Comber, Combilift New Zealand. “It was designed and built to fully comply with New Zealand’s safety and regulatory requirements for industrial machinery.

“The high-mounted cabin with 360-degree windows, combined with movement beepers, flashing beacons and LED work lights, ensures excellent safety for pedestrians, and a hydraulic lockout feature ensures that the load cannot be lowered unless the engine is running and the operator is at the controls. The top-lift spreader includes many safety features, one being that the load cannot be lifted without all four twist-locks being engaged, and the operator is notified of this with ‘traffic light’ indicators, mounted both on the top-lift spreader attachment and in the cabin,” Mr Comber explains.

“The Combi-XC is an excellent alternative to typical port straddle carriers and/or shunt trucks for moving containers to and from the distribution centres to the staging areas as it eliminates the waiting time of shunt trucks by giving the operator the freedom to lift the container and move it directly to where needed. Recent studies show that shunt trucks spend 35% of their time waiting to be loaded and offloaded, while the Combi-XC can lift and go immediately.”

The most efficient solution

Sean Bradley says they use the Combi-XC to transfer containers between MidlandPort and the various distribution centres at iPort. “Using the Combi-XC means a container never has to go on the public roads between Lyttelton and its final destination,” he notes.

“The Combi-XC can move containers quickly over long distances so it is the most efficient solution given the distances involved at iPort. It also has a low maintenance and operating cost and carries containers end on, which means it can move containers along smaller roadways and through narrower gates compared to a reach stacker.”

Watch a video of the Combi-XC in action here

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