Automation Options for RTG Terminals



Mark Sisson PE, Senior Port Planner, AECOM


Rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes are the most common container terminal operating mode in the world. However, the most common style for new terminals built in the last decade has been automated or semi-automated operations based on automated stacking cranes (ASCs). The world’s busiest container port, the Port of Shanghai, built the Yangshan Island terminal originally as all RTG, but the newest expansion of this terminal now uses ASCs.

This paper explores the reasons, or lack thereof, for converting from an existing RTG terminal into an ASC terminal. In our example analysis we will consider a medium size, rectangular, three berth terminal with 1200m of quay face and 12 STS cranes. We will assume that the berth capacity of this facility is approximately 1.2 million container moves per year (100k per STS crane). At 1.75 TEU per container, this equates to a volume of 2.1M TEU per year. These are not absolute limits of course, but do describe a very busy terminal by North American standards, and are conveniently round numbers for illustrative purposes…

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