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Elevated Causeway System-Modular (ELCAS)

Over the shore, or ship to shore, logistics is generally about throughput.

This timelapse video from the newly opened London Gateway give some idea of how much ‘stuff’ a modern container terminal can shift

The six berths will eventually handle 3.5 million TEU’s (20ft containers) per year, just over 9,000 in a 24 hour period.

Compare that with the amazing US Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) Elevated Causeway or ELCAS;

One of the initial proving exercises, despite many disruptions due to higher than expected sea states, demonstrated an offload of over 800 containers and 1,300 vehicles in 14 days. To do this required 67 different units, a total of 5,000 personnel, 70 small craft and a large onshore build.

800 containers in 2 weeks, just under 60 per day.

Elevated Causeway System-Modular (ELCAS)
Elevated Causeway System-Modular (ELCAS)
Improved Navy Lighterage System loaded with shipping containers to the a Navy Elevated Causeway System
Improved Navy Lighterage System loaded with shipping containers to the a Navy Elevated Causeway System

When there is not a handy, state of the art and massive container port on tap and one has to build one from scratch, the scale of the challenge is immense.

Puts things into perspective though.

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14 Responses

  1. Both are really impressive engineering feats.

    Have you come across the North West / Atlantic / Ocean Gateway projects?

    The Port Salford component (via right hand menu) is particularly interesting. Revive the Ship Canal and put a significant inland container port at the hub of road/rail networks in the North West.

  2. TOC – putting a container port in a location with immediate access to motorways to all points of the compass and immediate access to a high capacity (not high speed) goods rail network is an excellent infrastructure enhancement. Considerably more sense than a high speed trainset into London, but then nearly everything has more sense than that. So which is the Gov’t going to pour taxpayers’ cash into? Oh yes, the one that will provide MPs a faster more comfortable ride in and out of Westminster when they need to go look at what the little people do when votes are needed.

  3. BR had a large amount of inland Container depots, mainly for domestic Intermodal work. Then in the mid-eighties they decided to close most of them. This was before the boom in Deep-Water Container
    Traffic that started a few years later. The link below shows the depot locations before and after:

    This is a Network Rail list of current intermodal depots:

    Of all the Major Deep-Water ports, Felixstowe is the only one which has no Motorway in its area.

  4. Further to what Simon257 said,

    Nationalisation of the railways didn’t just kill competition on the rails. The Big Four companies not only had interests in road transport and shipping they were moving into (limited) air travel too. The re-privatisation of the rail system put us back to 1939 in terms of scope. Unfortunately though the rail franchises aren’t on a solid foundation; its isn’t competition between companies with vast experience . As with most privatizations the customer and the work force stay the same, the only thing that changes is the middleman who offers HMG deals where the change of a figure in one cell means yay or nay; cost vs value.

  5. @X

    Only on the passenger side of the break up of BR can it be called a failure.

    On the Railfreight side, If you look at the investment in new Locomotives and Rolling stock and facilities by DB Shenker, Freightliner, GB Railfreight, DRS and Colas Rail it can only be described as a success.

  6. @ Simon257

    Yes. But how further on are we than in 1939? Back then railways operated PO wagons etc. The EU mandating the separation of train company from network ownership isn’t the optimal solution. I note that you mention DB Schenker. Yet another German company doing well out of the breaking up of the UK’s parcel-transport system. We are fools to ourselves.

  7. @ X

    DB Shenker acquired EWS off the Canadian National Railway, who had acquired US Railroad Wisconsin Central Ltd, who in turn had bought 5 of the 6 Railfreight Companies from UK Gov between 1995 & 1997

    Only Freightliner was not acquired, due to the success of a management buyout. It is now owned by the Arcapita Bank of Bahrain!

    The Railways had only just recovered from the hammering they took during the Great War. The Big Four had big plans for the Forties. Unfortunately so did Hitler. The actual state of the infrastructure after the end of WW2, was shocking. None of the companies could afford to rebuild the damage due to enemy action and lack of maintenance without bankrupting themselves. The only option was to nationalise it.

    The Treasury lost total faith in BR after first it funded 999 new standard designed locomotives as well as providing funds for new batches of prewar designed locomotives in the aftermath of WW2. Then BR brought out the 1955 Modernisation plan that required the total replacement of these brand new Steam Locomtives, with Diesel’s. Only to scrap half of them because they didn’t worked properly! It never Trusted BR ever after that!

    If we fast forward to the Eighties, BR was making a nice but small profit and was run well. It was also modernising. Mrs T saw no need to privatise it. That came about when John Major came to power. He has since admitted that it was the biggest mistake of his Premiership.

  8. For me it’s the spending of Marshal Plan funds primarily to maintain gold reserves that was the mistake.

    Had the money been spent on electrification of the railway, as per the rail plan for North Eastern France and Germany, we may still have the full rail network available in the UK.

    There’s even an argument for a reduced north/south divide had that have happened, though the counter argument is critical voting mass had already been achieved in South East England at that point for public works.

    When you talk about not purchasing gold reserves with Marshal Plan money, you get into a more managed Empire->Commonwealth transformation, which usually leads onto focussing on the EC rather than the Commonwealth debates.

    All genuinely interesting stuff and by no means irreversible at this stage.

    HS2 will benefit me personally. However I do wonder whether a national program of cabling fibre optic to every home instead of accepting copper on the last mile (for example) would have a longer economic impact.

    Combine that with a slower but more cost efficient program of reopening the older lines and linking rail with sea ports as per the Port Salford / Atlantic Gateway programs perhaps?

    Oh to have £50b to spend!


  9. Installing a walk on walk off escalator between Euston, Kings Cross and all the other London mainline railway stations would get my vote. Travelling into or out of London is not the problem, its when you have to do both that things get time delays

    Anyway, Mexeflote

  10. ‘There’s even an argument for a reduced north/south divide had that have happened’

    The North/South divide will begin to balance itself out once they start to run out of water due to over population. But then again by that time the state of London will be in existence and they will just send their regiments North (who will no doubt be better equipped than than the Northern militia ) to take it.

    So prevent this vision of the future my advice is to vote …………………………………….. in fact now I come to think of it, Emigrate! ;-)

  11. @DN

    Heh heh. though one of my favourite projects (the pre-cooler from Reaction Engines) significantly reduces the operating costs of multi-stage flash desalination plants as well.

    Maybe we need to ensure REL move up north?

  12. TOC – ref “HS2 will benefit me personally” – really? I think you may have a disappointment headed your way. HS2 (hideous demon that it would be) if built will expand London’s commuter belt. This, for those not yet in its maw, is a bad thing. Down here in the home counties where the trains are standing room only from 6am and again going the other way from 5:30pm the house prices look to have risen 25% over the last 15 months. Much more than the Gov’t report stated, but then I’m only going by the likes of Rightmove and watching how the prices rocket in the ‘affordable’ bracket of normal folk (up to £500.000). The 9% official figure will have included the £1m upward palatial residences too, the sorts of properties unlikely to have suffered a sales slump in the past few years as greedy bankers continued to get obscene bonuses even when presiding over failed banks bailed out by us taxpayers. Out in the sticks there is no justification whatsoever for the hike in house prices to that degree, but those Londoners looking for their pad in the country close to a commuter line have cash that they are now not so scared to spend.

    When the shiny trainset gets to a station near you, you’d better be ready to be priced out of your own housing market.

    I have a suggestion. Can we trade London for Scotland? London can get its independence and we can build border posts like Check Point Charlie where huge immigration taxes can be imposed on those Londoners wishing to travel into the UK. Scotland might then be more content to remain part of the more rational more sensible UK. I’m pretty sure rural/provincial England Wales & N.Ireland has more in common with life north of Hadrian’s Wall than it has with life inside the M25.

    Oh and on the subject of wide French trains, that’s almost certainly a function of blind Requirement tick-boxing in a total common sense vacuum.

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