How long does it take to unload a container train

How long does it take to unload a container train? The short answer is “it depends”.

Reach stacker heading back with the container

Length of the train is one factor.

Reach stacker moving a 20 foot container around the Melbourne Freight Terminal

As is the number of reach stackers available to move containers.

Reach stacker loading container wagons at Appleton Dock

But Appendix A “train strip and reload analysis” of the Fishermans Bend Freight Corridor Advisory Services report, dated July 2016 give you something to work with.

Benchmark times for reachstacker operations were derived from observations of typical reachstacker operators at North Dynon and North Quay Rail Terminal (Fremantle) for a typical carry distance around 100 metres. Times at both locations were surprisingly similar.

Container size 20’ containers 40’ containers
Unloading train (per container) 1 min 30 sec 1 min 45 sec
Loading train (per container) 1 min 45 sec 2 min 0 sec

Table A.1 : Reachstacker train loading and unloading benchmark times

The Port Rail Shuttle train capacity is assumed at 84 TEU, with equal numbers of 20’ and 40’ containers. This means there would be 28 20’ containers and 28 x 40’. The time required to undertake a complete train strip and reload would be:

Unload 28 x 20’ = 28 x 1. 5 min = 42 min
Unload 28 x 40’ = 28 x 1.75 min = 49 min
Load 28 x 20’ = 28 x 1.75 = 49 min
Load 28 x 40’ = 28 x 2.0 min = 56 min

Total = 196 min, or 3 hours 16 min

The maximum number of reachstackers that can efficiently work a train is generally agreed at one reachstacker per 100-120 m of train.

Port Rail Shuttle trains will have 42 wagons each around 13.1 m (the commonly used CFCLA CQPY two slot container flat is 13,053 mm coupler centre to coupler centre), making to freight carrying train length around 546 m.

Thus the maximum number of reachstackers that could be deployed efficiently is five per train. 196 min / 5 = 39.2 minutes.

If only two reachstackers were available, they would complete this task in 1 hour 38 mins, still within the two hour requirement. Similarly, even if these times proved to be 50% too low, the task of 392 minutes could be performed in less than two hours by four reachstackers.

So go forth and calculate!

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