World’s largest fully automated terminal opens

SIPG and ZPMC have opened the 4M TEU Shanghai Yangshan Phase IV Automated Terminal.
The new facility, touted as the world’s largest fully automated terminal, was opened on December 11 at Yangshan Island off the coast of Shanghai. The terminal was “jointly built” by ZPMC and Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) and features seven berths over 2350m of quay, and a total area of 2.2 million square metres.

The terminal “marks the tremendous updating and significant change that China has made in operation mode and technical application of Chinese ports,” ZPMC said in a statement. “It also provides a new power for Shanghai port to strengthen its leading place in port handling capacity and rank as the No.1.”

Yangshan Phase IV has two 70,000t berths, and five 50000t berths with a capacity of 4M TEU per year in the first phase. That can be extended to 6.3M TEU in future. ZPMC describes Yangshan Phase IV as the only fully automated terminal with a “China Core”. By this it means the two core software systems at the terminal were developed by Chinese companies: the TOS by SIPG, and the Equipment Control System (ECS) by ZPMC.

Equipment at the new terminal so far includes 10 “automatic” ZPMC STS cranes, 40 ZPMC ASCs (Automated stacking cranes with the TMEIC automation and control system), 50 ZPMC AGVs and a number of “double-box automatic rail mounted cranes”. These are understood to be double cantilever cranes with a box girder construction. The AGVs feature changeable batteries with an automated battery charging system. The batteries are designed to last 12 hours on a full charge. They are removed for charging (which takes six minutes) and can be recharged in two hours.

At full build out Yangshan Phase IV will feature 26 STS cranes, 120 ASCs and 130 AGVs. The terminal is the pinnacle of ZPMC’s achievements in terminal automation thus far, and builds on the Yuanhai terminal in Xiamen and the new automated terminal in Qingdao (QQCTN), both of which also feature AGVs.

ZPMC notes that it has other automation projects in progress, including Vado for APM Terminals in Italy and a new terminal at Khalifa for Cosco Shipping Ports, as well as another development at Tangshan in China.

At a Smart Terminal Solutions Forum in Shanghai in November ZPMC Huang Qingfeng told the audience the automated container terminal “is a mainstay for ZPMC”. The company notes that since 1998 it has been the largest supplier of STS cranes in WorldCargo News’ annual market surveys, and has now delivered cranes to 99 different countries. ZPMC expects automation will play an increasingly significant role in the company’s development.

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