Uno Bryfors, Vice President of ABB Crane Systems, explains to PTI how vital automation is in the contemporary port and terminal arena. (This is a must see & share video!)
In this wide ranging and insightful interview, Bryfors informs us of the challenges facing terminals due to the increasing prevalence of mega-ships, and how port and terminal operators can ramp-up their productivity in order to deal successfully with the implicit higher volumes.
Bryfors is unequivocal in stating: “Automation is the basis for increasing efficiency at terminals… Container terminals have to optimise their operations – that’s the only way to stay competitive.”
However, automation offers far more than efficiency and productivity in the port arena, Bryfors also lists the multifaceted environmental, safety and functional benefits in automating a port or terminal.
PTI is very proud to announce ABB as a preferred partner.
Gaussin Manugistique and BA Systèmes have announced the launch of joint-venture ‘Gaussin BA Systemes’ which aims to respond to the growing world demand for automation in port terminals.
The partnership was officially introduced at the JDL Med 2014 trade fair in Marseille.
Port vehicle specialist Gaussin and automatic handling and storage specialist BA Systèmes have stated in a press release they are proposing “a comprehensive Plug and Play offer, including both driverless vehicles and navigation systems, to port terminal operatorsthroughout the world who want to automate their logistics.
“Automation is a key trend in port operations for reasons of productivity as well as safety. Gaussin BA Systemes is 60% owned by the Gaussin group and 40% by BA systemes."
A key focus for the newly formed joint-venture will be optimising Gaussin’s AIV (Automotive Intelligent Vehicle), the fully automated port vehicle from the French company’s ATT range.
Concerns are currently being expressed by The International Transport Workers' Federation and the FNV Bondgenoten container terminal workers union about the potential loss of dockworker jobs in Rotterdam resulting from the introduction of two new highly automated container terminals and over-capacity.
FNV has called on the port authority and other companies in Rotterdam to initiate a serious dialogue on this subject. It has further criticised Rotterdam Gateway for not engaging with the union and moving to sign a collective bargaining agreement.
The increased role of automation in port operations in mature economies, where labour costs are high, is inevitable. In such a situation, labour is usually the highest component of operational cost and often it is only through seeking to reduce this that new terminal development is viable.
It is, therefore, a natural step to look to replace manpower with automation in key aspects of a container terminal operation – automated processes in container handling in the yard area for example.
In real terms, this is progress albeit that it is maybe as hard to accept as the ending of the UK’s National Dock Labour Scheme, which in October 1990 saw the size of the country’s port workforce reduced to 4,000 from a total of just over 9,000 in April 1989. No one can deny, however, that the ending of this scheme combined with the advent of port privatisation ushered in a new era of growth in the UK ports sector.
The underlying impression retained when hearing the aspirations of the worker representative bodies in Rotterdam is that they wish to resist or slow the impact of this essential change. A more appropriate approach may be to work with employers to ‘manage this change’ which could entail the introduction of re-training programmes and so on. Equally, it necessitates recognition of the fact that a good sized element of port worker activity is moving away from a blue to white collar requirement.
There is no doubt that there is what amounts to a mini-revolution taking place in labour terms in the modern high capacity container terminal operating in developed economies. Not only does this dictate the need for revised labour arrangements but to a significant extent a new profile of port worker where intelligence is the primary requirement over and above physical ability.