CHINA has opened the first fully automated container terminal in Asia, inaugurating service with the docking of the COSCO France on May 11.
Qingdao New Qianwan Container Terminal (QQCTN) took three years to develop, according to a statement from the port authority, and has a capacity of 5.2 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units).
The terminal has two berths on its 660-meter quay, seven ship-to-shore cranes operated by remote control, 38 automated stacking cranes, and 38 battery-powered automated guided vehicles to move containers.
A system using laser scanners and positioning systems can accurately locate the four corners of each container to allow crane operators, who control the cranes from a central control room, to move the containers between ships and the driverless trucks.
This technology allows the terminal to operate in complete darkness during the night, the port authority said, adding that the automation has reduced the terminal’s labor costs by 70 percent while increasing efficiency by 30 percent.
The number of workers required to unload a cargo ship has been reduced from 60 to nine, the port authority said.
The terminal is part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative and as a result QQCTN is planning to operate around the clock with four more fully automated berths.