Twenty-nine reconfigured Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGCs) have been installed at Hutchison Ports’ HIT Container Terminal 9 (CT9) North. They are eventually expected to see productivity gains rise 30-40 percent with higher operational efficiency up by 20 percent.
These next generation RTGCs at CT9 are using remote-control technology which allows trained personnel to operate the equipment from an air conditioned office, providing improved safety, better working conditions and higher productivity.
The operator does not have to spend time walking to and from the crane which is safer and cuts exposure to extreme weather conditions. The more appealing working conditions are expected to attract new talent to HIT and the company is offering training programmes to boost recruitment.
Operators can load and unload containers from trucks and position them in the yard from the comfort of an office. The cranes are installed with high-definition cameras and sensors enabling the operator to work with precision from a remote location.
These reconfigured RTGCs will help manage the large increases in cargo moving through the yard generated by modern container mega vessels of up to 20,000 TEUs calling at the terminal.
The yard transitioned from a manual system to a remote control while maintaining operations, which is a world first. At the same time a new automated container stacking system was introduced, further boosting efficiency gains.
The remote crane operations can bring four benefits, namely:
• Improved working environment for crane operators
• Increased industrial safety
• Higher operational efficiency and productivity
• Cleaner terminal environment by reducing carbon emissions
Yim concluded, “The transition to remote operations can enhance the overall operational efficiency and competiveness of terminals in Hong Kong, which will maintain the city’s status as a major transshipment port.”
“The main challenges to overcome included ensuring that the ground surface in the container yard was perfectly levelled so sensors could accurately position the RTGC for a safe load and unload cycle. There are plans to replicate similar remote-control systems to other HPH Trust container terminals.”
To date, Hutchison Ports operates 325 units of remote control/automated equipment with automated operational system enhancing efficiency and productivity. A fleet of approximately 76* units of remote control equipment will be added to the group’s network of ports by 2019.
(*number of remote-control equipment subject to change.)
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