APM Terminals will move ahead with plans to automate its terminal at the Port of Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The first group of 45-foot-high “driverless cargo carriers” are scheduled to arrive at the facility in July 2019, while the rest of the 27-strong fleet is expected to be implemented before the end of the year.
In addition to this, the report reveals that APM Terminals’ new automated carriers will be fitted with diesel motors to charge their batteries, removing the necessity of installing chargers, Wi-Fi antenna poles and related equipment.
Read a Port Technology technical paper from Virginia's Rich Ceci on ‘Terminal Automation: The Good, The Bad, The Future’
Benefits of the new units include 24-hour operations, increasing levels of efficiency, and the reduction of average turnaround times for trucks entering the terminal from 105 minutes to 35 minutes.
The company also plans to convert 130 automated carriers from hybrid diesel-electric to fully electric operations, a transition that would save 2.2 million gallons of diesel fuel, including both the driverless machines within the terminal and trucks waiting to enter.
Once the automation project is complete, carriers will bring cargo directly to trucks parked outside the container storage yard in what is anticipated to be a far more efficient process.
Port of LA commissioners vote 3-2 to uphold coastal development permit which will allow APM Terminals to test equipment that could be used to automate Pier 400.
— American Shipper (@AmericanShipper) June 20, 2019
Eugene Seroka, Executive Director at the Port of Los Angeles, has addressed concerns from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) regarding the loss of jobs, revealing that “in the last 15 months, the industry has hired 1,000 registered longshore members and 4,000 to 5,000 casual workers or apprentices”.
This recruitment drive has been described as “the largest uptake of new workers in a generation”.
With container throughput set to double at the Port of Los Angeles during the next 20 years, Seroka has also asserted that more workers will be needed in the future.