APM Terminals Introduces Safety Drones


APM Terminals is using drones to improve security and operational efficiency at its inland facilities in San Antonio and Santiago, Chile.

The terminal operator is using three drones, which are clearly visible in the air above the facilities, with one deployed at Santiago and two in the larger San Antonio.

First tested in 2016, the drones have been used periodically to film the site's operations, monitor traffic flows and container stack efficiency, and observe unsafe behaviour.

The terminal operator is amongst the first in its industry to implement the technology, which has replaced the role of some safety supervisors on the ground.

Read more about the impact of drones on the shipping industry by reading a Port Technology technical paper

While operations are documented and analysed from above, a viewpoint that was previously unavailable, safety workers are able to focus more on workshops and areas with less machine traffic.

All visitors to the terminal are required to agree to the facility's safety policies, which outline the rules in force and the presence of the drones.

In addition to their supervisory function, the drones can also perform previously dangerous tasks such as rooftop and crane inspections, which Hector Espinoza, Director for Latin America at APM Terminals' subsidiary Container Operators S.A., has found to be “totally visible” from a bird's eye view.

He said: “Our safety supervisors are the ones tasked with keeping the people and activities at our facilities safe, but by doing their jobs next to container stacks, trucks and other machinery, they were exposed to the highest risks.

“I knew the mining industry was having success with drones for safety, so we started testing it out.”

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