Terminal Automation: the Good, the Bad and the Future



Rich Ceci, Sr. Vice President of Technology and Projects, Virginia International Terminals, Virginia, USA


I entered the maritime industry 15 years ago, having spent most of my career deploying automation to factories (mainly automotive) all over the world. It was rewarding to be able to share my experiences in a mature setting with an embryonic one.

A big advantage in this scenario is that my past experience allowed our team to avoid some of the developmental pains associated with the deployment of disruptive technology and focus more directly on solutions that provided immediate results.

I think that was a factor in how the Virginia project – back in 2007 – was able to finish on-time and on-budget and exceed a whole host of expectations. Having said all that, I have wondered over the years whether we did the industry a disservice by not having more go wrong. At one point the APMT organization felt the entire automated terminal development process could be distilled to a “checklist” – they called it “Terminal in a Box” (and it baffled me).

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