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Terminal conversion

Upgrading through automation

Although automation is more straightforward at greenfield terminals, it is possible to convert existing – or brownfield – terminals to partial or full automation. The transition can either be done step by step to avoid a loss of capacity, or by expanding into a previously unused area. Based on our extensive experience and wide portfolio of innovative solutions, we can advise on the most appropriate route to automation, taking into account terminal size, throughput, handling patterns, geography and existing equipment. An AutoStrad stack is a cost-effective way to introduce automation, and an automated stacking crane can improve capacity and performance while lowering operational costs.

Terminal conversion options

The latest terminal designs are customized for each individual terminal and its requirements, combining a range of the leading container handling technologies. As a result, the benefits of automation are increasingly accessible for terminals of all sizes.

One of the most interesting examples is the fully automated TraPac terminal in Los Angeles, USA, which decouples the quay and yard cranes work cycles. The terminal combines three automation concepts: a perpendicular and parallel automated stacking crane (ASC) stack and a diagonal AutoStrad stack. The Straddle Carriers also serve the ASC stack. TraPac is an example of a step-by-step brownfield conversion, where the port remains fully functional during the upgrade process, with no loss of capacity.

Opting for an AutoStrad stack is one way of introducing automation for a relatively low initial investment. When volumes grow and the need for a higher stack density arises, ASC blocks can be added. The AutoStrads still transport containers to the ASC and AutoStrad stacks.

Another option is upgrading an RTG stack to an ASC stack. An eight-wide ASC can stack up to 25 per cent more containers than traditional six or seven-wide RTG stacks, offering the benefit of improved terminal capacity and performance with lower operational costs.