New ports bring vision to life


New flagship terminals opening in Thailand and Pakistan will provide the template for the future of Hutchison Ports worldwide operations. New technology, remote control equipment and streamlined operations will transform terminal operations at the hub ports and beyond.

As volumes increase around Asia, demand is growing for ports to offer more efficient and cost-effective container handling services. In order to meet this demand, Hutchison Ports is also leveraging its experience from operating hub ports around the world and transferring technology, knowledge and expertise to emerging ports in Asia.

Port marks global first to operate remote control quay and gantry cranes

CoverStory_300X300At Hutchison Ports Thailand, Laem Chabang Terminal D is the first port facility in the world to operate both remote-control Quay Cranes (QC) and Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGC).

The terminal handles approximately one-third of Thailand’s annual throughput and has increased sixteen percent in volume last year. With the high demand of volume coming up, the completion of the first phase of Terminal D, which is expected to be completed by 2019, will add volume to some 600,000 TEU to its current 2.8 million TEU. By 2024, another 3.5 million TEU will be added upon completion of Phase D2 & D3.

“On full completion of all phases to Terminal D, the facility will offer a total of 1,700 metres of berth length with 17 QCs and 43 RTGCs. It will be one of the largest remote-control operated terminals in the world and the first terminal of its type in the group,” according to Stephen Ashworth, Managing Director – South East Asia of Hutchison Ports.

Although remote-control RTGCs have been implemented in Japan and Hong Kong before, the most noticeable difference between these existing RTGCs and the remote-control RTGCs at Hutchison Ports Thailand is the automatic gantry movement.


At the ultra-modern Laem Chabang Terminal D, all operations have been specifically designed to streamline the flow of containers from the gatehouse to yard storage and the quayside. New technologies have been installed to enable the efficient movement of boxes throughout the terminal, including automating RTGC in-stack and gantry movements and remote control for last metre truck handling.

Remote control operations and its associated technology will lead to safer and more accurate container handling together with higher levels of productivity for shipping lines and other port users.

The terminal will also focus on truck lane operations in which internal and external trucks and drivers are in close proximity to the equipment. The driver certification scheme was put in place long before the opening of Terminal D in order to ensure all road users understand and follow the safety regulations within the terminal.

“It’s certainly more appealing to staff at the terminal as well; at the core of it, our crane operators can work in a much more comfortable environment and it also helps to keep productivity high,” Ashworth added.


Terminal D will be the group’s flagship gateway terminal for the South East Asia region, it will be used as a platform for training operators in remote control operations and inviting Hutchison Ports staff to Thailand from all over the world to train.

The flagship terminal will also be able to accommodate the world’s largest container vessels in the future.

“The plan with Terminal D is to make it so the largest of vessels can come to Laem Chabang Port. These larger vessels may take some time before they cascade to Thailand, but we are thinking ahead of the curve,” said Ashworth.

The bigger picture is that the $600 million terminal is an integral part of Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a special economic zone which focuses on improvements to infrastructure in order to boost economic activity.

“The EEC project aims to position Thailand as a hub for ASEAN. The successful implementation of the EEC concept ensures Thailand’s economy continues to grow. This will help to sustain export and container growth, with Hutchison Ports clearly an integral part of this,” Ashworth told The Loadstar.

Some shipping lines are already showing interest in deploying 14,000 TEU class vessels on port rotations that include Terminal D. The current average vessel size at Laem Chabang is around 3,000 TEU, with the biggest at 10,000 TEU.

In July, Hutchison Ports Thailand welcomed the M.V. MOL GLOBE to Terminal D at Laem Chabang Port. The vessel was among the first to call at the new terminal and was operated under remote-controlled QCs and RTGCs.

As of March 2018, Hutchison Ports operates a total of eighteen remote control QCs in the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Oman which surpassed one million accumulated lifts. (The number of accumulated QC lifts includes all moves counted between May 2015 and March 2018; excluding Thailand)

Regional Operations Centre Launched in Pakistan

Hutchison Ports Pakistan is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to facilitate seamless operations. The terminal is also equipped with the sophisticated in-house terminal management operating system nGen, which provides yard and quay operations, on par with the world’s most efficient container terminals.

Andy Tsoi, Managing Director – Middle East & Africa of Hutchison Ports, said the group is committed to the continued development of Pakistan and aims to provide local industries with a unique and well-equipped gateway towards world markets. He added that these terminals are being operated to the highest international standards with the highest level of expertise and technology at its terminal operations.

The new terminal in Karachi, Hutchison Ports Pakistan, is striving to become a market leader and successfully grow into one of Hutchison Ports strongest performers in the region. As equally important, Hutchison Ports KICT is carefully adjusting its strategic plan to maintain its volume in a quickly shifting market.

Aligning with the strategies in Hutchison Operations with regards to standardization and shared services, the idea of developing the very first in-house Regional Operation Centre (ROC) was launched at Karachi in October 2017. The aim of ROC is to centralise stowage planning delivery for both terminals in Pakistan and extend to other Asia terminals within the group’s network.


There are a few factors that favour Pakistan to the development of ROC in Karachi.

  • Reasonable operating cost
  • Ample supply of young talent and an educated workforce
  • Less restrictive regulations and high-quality telecommunication services
  • Strong economic ties with China as part of the One Belt, One Road initiative

The commissioning of ROC in Karachi started in the second quarter of 2018 to Hutchison Ports Pakistan and followed by Hutchison Ports KICT in the third quarter. Trial runs will begin for other Asia terminals after the successful implementation to both terminals in Pakistan.

New era for Hutchison Ports

The new ports will transform Hutchison Ports’ vision into a reality. In both terminals, working closely with Thailand and Pakistan Governments, Hutchison Ports has been able to deliver state-of-the-art facilities that directly benefit local, regional and national economies. Close collaboration with supply chain partners has ensured that we have tailored our equipment and technology at both terminals to meet local needs. We are also focused on developing an eco-friendly environment leveraging energy saving equipment and technology.

This is first phase of development at both terminals as we develop the facilities into centres of excellence, leveraging our international experience and local expertise to deliver world-class services to our customers.