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Analysing automated container handling methods

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Author(s): Philip Tam, Project Engineer, PACECO Corp., Hayward, California, United States


In recent years, the container handling industry has witnessed automated container terminals come of age. Operators on the west coast of the US are displaying especially heightened interest in automated container terminals as a means of improving cost performance and handling volume. Two major terminal designs are becoming the standard for automated facilities: the automated stacking crane (ASC) design that is featured in Altenwerder, Euromax, and APM terminals in Norfolk, and the cantilever automated rail mounted gantry (C-ARMG) design that is featured in Pusan Newport and Kaohsiung. Both designs have advantages and disadvantages, and the optimal terminal design depends on numerous factors, including transhipment ratio, dwell time, and local labour cost. PACECO Corp. has developed an alternative automated container terminal design called the RailShuttle system (see Figure 1) that offers many of the advantages of both systems while alleviating some of their drawbacks. The RailShuttle system uses automated lightweight rail-mounted container carts (see Figure 2) to move containers through the stacking yard. This allows the RailShuttle terminal to improve operational flexibility and reduce energy consumption while maintaining a reasonably high stacking density.

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PACECO’s RailShuttle system is similar …

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PTI's collector's edition marks TOC Europe's debut in the City of London and features 20 exclusive PTI Interviews of some of the industry's most experienced and esteemed professionals. Elsewhere, we feature technical papers on some of the hottest topics swirling around the industry, namely automation, optimisation, and the challenges facing ports and terminals today.