Ports and Terminals

Port of Santos: Arrival of Eco-Friendly Cranes and RTGs

Nov, 17, 2023 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202342

On Thursday (11/16), the Zhen Hua 35 ship docked at the Port of Santos coming from Shanghai, China, carrying two new ship-to-shore cranes and eight e-RTGs (yard cranes) acquired by Santos Brasil. These state-of-the-art electric equipment align with a low-carbon economy and the sustainability of port activity growth.

The equipment plays a crucial role in several initiatives already underway by the company to become carbon-neutral by 2040. They are also part of the expansion and modernization project of Tecon Santos, one of the largest and most efficient container terminals in South America. The terminal is set to receive investments of approximately R$ 2.6 billion (in updated values) until 2031 to increase its capacity from the current 2.4 million TEUs to 3 million TEUs.

Santos Brasil invested $45 million in these cranes ($22 million in e-RTGs and $23 million in ship-to-shore cranes), which crossed the ocean already assembled on the vessel. Another R$ 40 million will be invested in electrical and civil infrastructure works to adapt the terminal yard to the new equipment.

The eight e-RTGs will complement the existing 39 diesel-powered RTGs currently in operation. With the addition of the two new ship-to-shore cranes, the terminal’s fleet of ship-to-shore cranes will increase to 13 (ten from ZPMC and three from IMPSA) — all electric.

The company plans to acquire two more ZPMC ship-to-shore cranes and gradually replace the current diesel-powered RTGs with electric equipment over the next few years.

The replacement of a traditional RTG with an electric model allows for a reduction of approximately 21 tons of CO2/month in greenhouse gas emissions. The total electrification of yard cranes (RTGs) will result in a 97% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these equipment at the terminal. This translates to 713 fewer tons of CO2/month released into the atmosphere, bringing significant environmental gains. The increase in energy consumption at Tecon Santos will be offset through the purchase of renewable energy (I-REC).

The e-RTGs also bring an important operational change, allowing them to be operated remotely, providing more comfort and safety to the operator who can control the equipment from a modern operations center.

For Antonio Carlos Sepúlveda, CEO of Santos Brasil, the shift from diesel to electricity is essential in the company’s decarbonization process, making the arrival of these new equipment a milestone. “We are starting an important movement for the sustainable growth of the port, increasing the capacity of Tecon Santos without significant impacts on the environment. Society, the sector, and the company all benefit,” he says.

Removing the equipment from the ship is expected to take about eight days. It involves engineers from the manufacturer, as well as maintenance, work safety, information technology, operations, and infrastructure teams from Santos Brasil. The equipment is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2024.


The two ship-to-shore cranes are manufactured by the Chinese company ZPMC. They are electric, with a height of 50 meters from the quay to the boom and a boom length of 70 meters, capable of handling up to two full 20-foot containers simultaneously and up to 100 tons of cargo. Like the two ship-to-shore cranes received in 2020, the new equipment features the Truck Position System (TPS) technology, which precisely defines the stopping point for vehicles during loading and unloading maneuvers.

The e-RTGs are also from the ZPMC brand. They are electric, with a capacity of 41 tons, seven containers of ballast, and a lifting height of 21.2 meters.

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