Carer Electric Forklifts for Port Terminal Applications

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

Carer forklift moving a container

The Board of Commissionaires for municipalities across North America has mandated that port terminal operations require major attention when it comes to the reduction of carbon emissions. Currently, most port terminal operations still operate using diesel-burning machinery despite the effects on the environment, employee health, and the people living in these areas.

While working in these port terminal operations, operators arrive to work in the scorching summer sun only to be seated over a hot diesel engine. Not only that, but the noise produced by a large diesel engine requires the operator to wear ear protection to prevent hearing damage. What’s the solution? Consider an electric forklift!

Most ports operate under the direction of the Board of Commissionaires and must have board approval before any large purchase. The challenge with this is that some port operations have difficulty effectively communicating to the board when requesting a replacement forklift if the operating costs are still low. That’s why many diesel forklifts in port operations are used well beyond their reasonable life cycles. Doing so means an increase in maintenance/repair costs, energy consumption, and downtime.

The solution available for port applications is the Carer industrial electric forklift. Carer’s industrial electric forklifts are widely used with break bulk terminals as their lift capacity options are available up to 66,000 lbs.

Municipalities also continue to struggle with how they can deal with excessive machinery noise and pollution. Since the majority of port operations are located within densely populated areas, there is pressure to lower both noise and pollution. As a result, more and more port operations are moving toward a zero emissions protocol. This can be a challenge for equipment that is not proven or produced to meet the demands of port operations. Carer Electric forklifts offers a solution that can help the justification process of an electric machine. With technological developments when it comes to lithium battery and charger combinations, electric forklifts can now be adapted to meet the power demand necessary for applications that require high-capacity machines.

It takes more than just the right equipment to electrify a port application. To ensure you can manage peak demands, the proper electrical infrastructure must be in place and understood. Charging cycles must match the terminal operations while also ensuring that the power grid is not overloaded to the point of breakdown. When considering switching from internal combustion to electric, the level of complexity increases dramatically. Many terminal operators are considering a long-term zero emissions plan but are opting for a reasonable and demonstrable starting point in the meantime. Operators and terminal authorities can restrict expenses and have a more manageable technical transition by focusing on a phased introduction instead of a complete overhaul over to an all-electric application.

In most cases the financial performance of an internal combustion engine forklift to electric conversion only considers the fuel cost. A more realistic return on investment estimate would have to incorporate the following:

Total current monthly operating cost analysis (for diesel forklifts) includes:

  • Capital costs (depreciation and internal cost of funds)
  • All repairs and maintenance costs
  • Intangible costs (emergency rentals, freight, down time, administration, etc.)
  • Energy (diesel) consumption cost (today and forecasted future costs)
  • Costs associated with unproductive labor (fuel tank refilling)
  • Tire replacement

Total forecast monthly operating costs (for electric forklifts) include:

  • Reduced utilization through elimination standby idle time
  • Capital costs (extended depreciation term and internal cost of funds)
  • Reduced repairs and maintenance costs – forecast reduction ~40%
  • Reduced intangible costs
  • Energy (electricity) consumption costs – forecast reduction ~88%
  • Reduced tire replacement costs

Every port authority in North America has an environmental department committed to the challenging balance of competing for global trade business while protecting the environment. With a focus on reducing air emissions, noise, and providing an environmentally sustainable environment, most port terminals have a clean air action plan. Each plan outlines a specific roadmap to lowering emissions. Carer Electric Forklifts has set out to meet the demand of those zero emission ports!

Looking to make the switch over to Carer Electric Forklifts? Reach out to our team today!