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Various Operations of Superstructure and Infrastructure

Various Operations of Superstructure and Infrastructure

Port superstructure’ means surface arrangements (such as for storage), fixed equipment (such as warehouses and terminal buildings) as well as mobile equipment (such as cranes) located in a port for the provision of transport related port services. 

Container handling equipment

  • Ship to shore gantries (SSGs)
  • Rubber tyred Gantries (RTGs)
  • Rail Mounted Gantries (RMGs) 
  • Top Loaders and Reach Stackers
  • Empty Container Handlers
  • Forklift Trucks
  • Forklift Trucks
  • Pallets

Ship to shore gantries (SSGs): 

These are overhead cranes used to handle containers into and from the ships. 

Rubber tyred Gantries (RTGs): 

Unlike the SSGs that move on rails, RTGs move on rubber tyres. Their functions are similar in every respect to the SSGs but are used in the yard to load or offload trucks (terminal handling). 

Rail Mounted Gantries (RMGs): 

These are also similar to SSGs and RTGs but are mounted on rails and are used to handle containers at rail terminals.

Top Loaders and Reach Stackers

These are custom made four wheeled trucks with telescopic lifting arms, extendable vertically in the case of top loaders and horizontally in the case of reach stackers. They are also equipped with twist locks and locking mechanisms similar to the SSGs, RTGs and RMGs.

Reach stacker

Empty Container Handlers: 

These are similar to top loaders and reach stackers in construction but are designed to lift empty containers.

Forklift Trucks: 

These use their forks to lift containers. They are designed to lift varying tonnages.

Terminal Tractors: 

These are custom built heavy duty trailers used to transfer containers within the port and on Ro/Ro vessels.


  • Pallets are considered as handling equipment. 
  • The use of pallets is regulated by a Convention from Commonwealth called: Commonwealth Handling and Equipment Pool (CHEP) whose standards are 40’’ x 48’’ made in timber. 
  • Pallets facilitate the handling movement and ensure an easy location and identification. 
  • The first pallets were tested used and registered in 1945 in Australia.
  • Roads and maneuverability ways: 

Roads and maneuverability ways enable faster movement of cargo within the port and also to and from the port. 

  • Buildings: 

Ports should have buildings that encompass administrative offices for customs, police, port authorities, bureau of standards, banks, hospitals, accommodation etc.

  • Security Equipment

The ports should have sufficient security equipment to secure the ports and cargo depending on the level of security. These may include security cameras, surveillance boats, alarms, electrical fences, security radios etc.

Learning Activities

  • Discuss how port infrastructure influence the economics development of ports


  1. State and explain the usage of any four superstructures at the port of Bujumbura
  2. Distinguish the difference between port infrastructure and port superstructure
  3. Explain the importance of use of pallets at the port