FORKLIFT trucks might not sound too cutting edge, but Portsmouth International Port is using them to keep ahead of the competition.
It has become the first port in the UK to use innovative new forklift trucks to make its import business, MMD, more competitive and efficient.
The 22 new trucks have removable battery packs so when the juice runs out the battery can just be swapped for a new one and the truck can keep on working.
Previously, there would be a delay in unloading cargo if a forklift truck ran out of power, because the whole truck would have to sit at a recharging point within the port before it could get back to work.
Now, the UK’s pineapples and bananas, the majority of which come through Portsmouth International Port, and other cargo, can be unloaded more quickly and without delays.
It also means MMD has been able to reduce its spending. It now only has to operate 55 trucks instead of 85, which are rented on a five-year lease worth £85,000.
MMD director Mark Willcox said: ‘This means we have got an advantage that other ports can’t have – an efficiency of operation – and we think we can offer a better service.
‘It also means we’ll have fewer breakdowns, and less time delay in getting products down to the store.’
MMD has also got 12 gas-powered forklifts on order which can reach extra-high to ensure goods can be stacked in the warehouses right up to the rafters.
And it also has invested £90,000 in new container trailers to move large containers to and from the ships and store.
David Spencer, commercial manager at MMD, added: ‘These innovations put us ahead of the game.’