Automation: A Case for the Future



Howard Wren, Technical Director, Transport Infrastructure, AECOM, Sydney, Australia


While the demand for designs of container terminals with part automation has increased significantly, some within the industry remain sceptical about the future of full automation. Despite the progress with system designs there is certainly a reluctance to commit to full automation and the use of automated Horizontal Transfer  Equipment (HTE) – either AGVs or Automated Shuttle Carriers.

A new concept for  the AGV presented by TTS Port Equipment in Sweden has been designed with power units positioned in the wheels and power for the equipment supplied by induction technology to optimise equipment mobility. Despite being in the early stages of development, this concept may potentially be a significant  development for the future of terminal automation.

Despite such a limited number of automated terminals currently in operation, it is important to remember that it is now almost 20 years since the first fully automated container terminals were developed. The developments at Thamesport and at European Combined Terminals, Rotterdam were the originators of the Automated Container Terminal concept. Since then automated or part automated operations have been introduced at Container Terminal Altenwerder, at Patrick Brisbane,  Australia and most recently at the AP Moller Terminal in Virginia, USA…

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