The merits of vertical-automated container terminals now proven in Asia

Introduction

Asia’s first vertical-automated terminal shows its merit by proving all the advantages of its design within the first year of operation. Since the first vessel call on 28 January 2012, Busan New Container Terminal (BNCT) has had a quick, successful and smooth operational start in large part due to the advantages of its vertical-automated terminal design and latest technology to match. Thanks to an initial volume of 1.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) annualised, this terminal has already demonstrated world class productivity, highest safety levels, shortest truck turnaround times, excellent yard efficiency and environmental advantages compared to traditionally structured terminals and is quickly gearing up to be a leading terminal in Asia.

World-class productivity

The terminal is ready to make the jump in productivity that vertical-automated terminals are designed for. The entire facility and equipment are performing smoothly with no serious issues or failures to date. BNCT demonstrated very high performance for a brand new terminal delivering 22 moves per hour on the first vessel and now exceeding 30 moves per hour with the highest berth productivity achieved to date of 188 moves per hour.

BNCT’s vertical-automated structure creates buffers in the container handling process which de-links equipment. Automatic rail mounted gantry (ARMG) cranes, straddle carriers and quay cranes essentially do not have to wait for the next or previous piece of equipment in the container handling process to start or finish working. With this flexibility, we can immediately respond to changing circumstances or customer requests at any point in the process without affecting other parts.

The most exciting part about reaching this level of productivity through practice and optimisation of our system during our first year, is that BNCT is now ready to implement one of the biggest operational advantages of vertical-automated terminals – double cycling.

Double cycling is the simultaneous loading and discharging of containers in the same cycle by both quay cranes and straddle carriers. Currently being practiced on selected vessel calls, full implementation of double cycling will deliver a big jump in productivity for large high-volume services.

Vertical layout also maximises yard efficiency with less distance for equipment to travel and minimises yard congestion.

Highest safety levels and more environmentally friendly

With the latest software and automation features to enhance equipment efficiency and utilisation, BNCT is raising environmental standards to a new level. With no trucks or people in the yard it is easy to see that chances for accident or injury and emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases are drastically reduced. BNCT’s advanced software optimises yard and equipment planning which reduces wasted energy significantly.

Shortest truck turnaround time

Due to the vertical layout, automated yard and proximity to our gate, the travel distance for trucks is significantly shorter than conventional terminals. External trucks spend less than 15 minutes at BNCT to deliver or pick up containers. Also, the 114 truck landside transfer points ensure a constant flow of traffic away from the operational yard area.

 

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Peter Slootweg, chief commercial officer, BNCT, Korea
Edition: Edition 57

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