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Automated Stacking Cranes In Port Terminals

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Author(s): Paul Blaiklock, Marketing Manager, TMEIC Corporation, Virginia, US

Shipping containers revolutionized the movement of goods, driving change and efficiency throughout the global supply chain. The next revolution in container handling is the application of automation to container terminal operation. At this time there are multiple automated container terminals in operation, and more in development globally. The challenge has been to automate operations in the part of the terminal where the containers are stacked, called the block. On one end of the block services, the ships are being loaded and unloaded, and on the other end, services trucks and trains being loaded and unloaded. A typical layout is shown in Figure 1. Stacks are usually five containers high with a narrow space between the rows, and there are typically eight rows of containers per section, stretching for up to a quarter mile, or around 400 metres. The sections are duplicated, providing parallel sections. 

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