Top 5 tips to optimise your port and terminal lighting

High-performing lighting is fundamental to ensuring safe and secure operations at ports and terminals around the world, with the continuation of global trade relying on robust and resilient systems. Despite this, many ports and terminals still use inadequate and poor-performing lighting solutions, such as high-pressure sodium, metal halide, or other similarly dated technologies.


We spoke with our Head of Maritime, Mark Nailer to find out his top 5 tips for owners and operators looking to evaluate and optimise the performance of their lighting to secure cost, safety and sustainability benefits.


1. Check your energy output


The first step to optimising your lighting system is to assess its energy consumption against its performance. With many ports and terminals requiring huge lighting infrastructures, and as a necessary annual expense, lighting should be evaluated every six months for its energy efficiency. At present, most owners and operators aren’t aware of the benefits of having regular audit procedures in place. This can lead to poor-performing, energy-sapping solutions being routinely applied. When operators do look at performance more closely, the savings can be tangible. For example, upgrading outdated lighting solutions to high-quality LED lighting can reduce energy consumption by as much as 70%, saving important costs and carbon emissions. Because the individual costs of maintaining each light in an antiquated system are low, they often go unnoticed. This is a common trend in ports, a focus on the ‘big ticket’ items, and why routine audits of best practices are a critical component to a successful operation.

2. Prevent time-intensive and costly maintenance


Are you constantly having to replace broken bulbs?


Although initially cheaper, high-pressure sodium, metal halide, or other similarly dated technologies, lack durability or quality – lasting one to two years at most. The maintenance required to continuously replace broken fixtures resulting in unnecessary costs.


For example, while a replacement bulb may initially be the cheaper option ($20-50 per bulb) the labour required to repeatedly replace broken lighting, cost of new fixtures and the avoidable safety risk, means in the long term, it is cost-ineffective.


As many ports and terminals do not have a process in place to cohesively track and report maintenance on lighting, or the replacement of singular bulbs, the cost of replacing hundreds of lights can often go unnoticed.


With solutions like LED lighting lasting for a minimum of ten years, assessing the entire product lifecycle is key to increasing safety standards and reducing avoidable maintenance costs.


3. Review the design of your bulbs


The size and design of a lightbulb directly impact the security of a port or terminal and the safety of workers. Outdated lighting solutions, and even inadequately designed LED lighting, can increase glare, reduce visibility and cause eye strain and fatigue for workers. Bulbs that are designed to effectively funnel light can dramatically reduce glare and increase colour recognition – an element that is also important in enhancing other technologies, such as CCTV systems, for example.


Traditional light bulbs are orb-shaped, meaning that light is emitted from every possible direction. So if you can see the light bulb, then its shining back at your eyes, creating glare. The proprietary optics Midstream Lighting utilizes channels the light to the specifically designated area, dramatically reducing glare perceived from outside the lighted area


4. Work smartly with sophisticated control systems


Investing in a sophisticated control system to automate lighting is fundamental for those looking to reduce energy consumption, increase efficiencies and subsequently save costs.


Control systems can allow you to better define the level of power output, notify workers when a light goes out and create zones to ensure lighting is only on in specific areas of the port or terminal when required.


Similarly, the data from such systems can be utilised to further optimise operations. The greater potential for data amalgamation and analysis enabling owners and operators to identify where further efficiency gains can be made. Through working smartly, owners and operators are not only able to reduce costs through optimising daily operations but increase the efficiency of infrastructure in the longer term.


5. Evaluate if your lighting fulfils its purpose


Lighting is purchased with the primary purpose of creating a safe operating environment. However, following installation, many owners and operators fail to check the performance of their lighting on a regular basis. In fact, around 90% of ports and terminals are not carrying out routine checks – resulting in inadequate lighting that reduces visibility and increases the risk of accidents and occurrence of crime.


It is therefore vital that safety is central to the evaluation of performance, optimisation and upkeep. It should after all not take a major accident, and huge insurance claim, for lighting to be upgraded.

Find out more about our Crane Lighting Solutions


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