Real-Time Business Solutions (RBS), a provider of smart applications and terminal operating systems (TOS), has revealed five of the key advantages which automation could offer the container handling sector.
With an “increase in vessel sizes” and customer demand requiring greater efficiencies, the importance of leveraging a “revolutionizing technology” like automation is growing for ports and terminals.
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RBS has revealed the benefits of this movement to become smarter:
1) Increases Operational Efficiency
Based on its years of experience with TOS systems, RBS has emphasized that the integration of AI planning functions and a TOS, working in conjunction with automated machinery, will produce operational output that is more accurate and agile.
Reducing human error and thus delays, the independent collaboration and communication of automated systems within a port or terminal also has the impact of boosting safety.
By taking pressure off the terminal’s human workforce, operators will be able to get a more holistic and transparent overview of cargo-handling activity, enabling them to better manage resources and the movement of containers.
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2) Reduces Costs
While the debate surrounding automation and its ripple effect on the workforce continues, RBS has revealed that the implementation of automated technologies in a terminal could save operators a significant amount in terms of labour costs.
Statistics from the TOS provider suggest that up to 45% less personnel will be required on the field as a result of automation, allowing remaining resources to be optimized more effectively.
3) Boosts Sustainability
If an automated system is installed within a terminal that causes it to run more smoothly and rarely experience delays, less fuel will also be consumed.
RBS has asserted that, as a result of this, operators can expect the level of carbon emissions their facilities produce to dramatically decrease.
Another environmental advantage is the longer life-cycle of container-handling equipment under automated conditions; if it has to be replaced less frequently, the manufacturing and transportation costs for new solutions can be reduced.
Harry Nguyen, RBS, discusses optimal terminal performance in a Port Technology technical paper
4) Enhances ROI
A terminal which is fully automated, such as highly advanced trade hubs in China or the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) in Melbourne, Australia, could theoretically operate through the night without much supervision.
While the terminal industry is not at this stage of its technological journey yet, the potential for this level of automation and reliability in the future would allow operations to continue on a constant basis and, by the same token, constantly generate revenue.
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5) Faster Turnover Rates
One of the key benefits of investing in automated operations is achieving speedier cargo moves; with the influence e-commerce and next-day delivery is currently having on the global logistics chain, the need to handle containers quickly is become more imperative for operators.
Automated equipment is much more precise and predictable compared to cranes and other machines that have to be controlled manually, decreasing the number of waiting periods terminals can usually expect to face on a day-to-day basis.
An intelligent system which is able to function consistently, but with the flexibility to adapt, is crucial to a facility which wants to grow and become more efficient over an extended period of time.