Terminal Automation: Challenges in Systems Integration



Dr Armin Wieschemann, Senior Director of Global Systems Development, Terex Port Solutions, Düsseldorf, Germany


With an influx of mega-vessels into the maritime industry, new challenges are now faced by ports and terminals, and in an exclusive new whitepaper Dr Armin Wieschemann of Terex explains how challenges in the integration of different systems can be met.

Over the last 25 years, automation has entered into the operations of container terminals and today almost 30 terminals have installed automated handling and/or transportation of containers through centralised control systems and combined them with some kind of automated gate control and features for automated container ID and X-ray inspection. The most elaborate automation has been installed in terminals in Hamburg (CTA), Long Beach (LBCT) and Rotterdam (Euromax, APMT and RWG), where both the stacking and waterside transportation is fully automated and the landside delivery/receipt to the road is done by remote control. Even the transportation to the railhead could be automated (APMT with automated guided vehicles designed as active Lift-AGVs).

Notwithstanding the large benefits from cost savings and reliable, wellplanned operations, the implementation of automation in terminals has developed rather slowly. Some terminals have even decided to take a risk-avoiding approach and selected a partly automated concept, limited to an automated stacking yard and a control system for the scheduling of manually operated transportation equipment between ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and the stack area (e.g. sprinter carriers).

Generally speaking, an automated horizontal transportation system for waterside operations in a multimillion terminal is the most challenging automated terminal sub-system. It includes a sophisticated scheduling…

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