With this third blog we would like to give a picture of inter- and intra-terminal transport in the ports of Busan, South-Korea. Busan New Container Terminal (BNCT) is the first Korean company for the studytour to visit and to get to know how the automation is done within a terminal.
The terminal is called an automated terminal, but it is not fully automated because still some human control is required. An example: containers arriving by truck, need to be picked up by a gantry crane controlled by an operator. When the container is lifted 7m above the ground the automated process starts. The gantry crane places the container at the stack according to a certain order. This is required because later on in the process the container needs to move on again, either to a truck or to the quay crane. When the gantry crane is not lifting from or to the stack, it performs autonomous housekeeping to relocate containers to a more preferred location. When a container needs to go from the stack to the quay crane (or the other way around) a straddle carrier is used. The drivers get information about which container to pick up and to which quay crane it needs to go to. Those drivers also need to interact with each other to avoid collisions. The quay crane picks up the container from the ground or from a ship and moves it to either the quay side or the ship. Picking up and lowering needs operator intervention, the rest of the lift is done automatically. Using automation at BNCT, manpower is reduced and a massive boost in productivity is obtained. Next to the intra-terminal transportation, the inter-terminal transportation (container movements between terminals) in the ports of Busan is reviewed. In a seminar, organized by the Busan Port Authority (BPA), insight is given in the bigger picture. BPA is supporting the development of new terminals and helps to transform part of the old ports into a maritime culture zone with a cruise terminal. They also support inter-terminal transportation by creating reliable routes between the ports and terminals. A great challenge lays in working together with companies, authorities and universities to combine the strengths of inter- and intra-terminal automation.