AI Empowers Smart Ports – China’s Automated Bulk Cargo Terminals

Major ports around the world are actively carrying out automated construction or transformation, with automated container terminals as the main direction.

Compared with standardized container cargo, bulk cargo has different forms and different types of ships that transport cargo, which requires precise operation of mechanical equipment, which makes the development of bulk cargo automated terminals relatively slow.

Today, with the rapid development of the global economy, the global bulk cargo transportation volume is also increasing rapidly.

As a major importer of bulk cargo, China is still in the adjustment stage of the international dry bulk cargo transportation market, but the import volume of iron ore and other goods is still further increased.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Transport in 2018, China’s ports above the designated size completed a cargo throughput of 13.345 billion tons, an increase of 2.9% over the previous year.

Among them, the throughput of coal and products was 2.450 billion tons, an increase of 3.4%; the throughput of oil, natural gas, and products was 1.066 billion tons, an increase of 3.8%; the throughput of metal ore was 2.122 billion tons, an increase of 3.1%.

The ports of various countries in the world are in the initial stage of the construction of automated bulk cargo terminals and are still in the traditional bulk cargo handling mode.

In the face of problems such as increased port labor costs, high labor intensity, harsh working environment, and manpower shortage, using automation technology to reduce costs and improve efficiency has become a common goal for ports around the world.

According to the survey conducted by the International Maritime Information Network on automated terminals, nearly 75% of terminal operators believe that automation is crucial to terminal development; nearly 65% ​​believe that port automation can improve operational safety; 33% of Respondents believe that automated terminals can increase port production efficiency by 50%, and another 20% of respondents believe that the construction of automated terminals can reduce operating costs by more than 50%.

The survey of the International Maritime Network shows the importance of building an automated terminal.

As of the beginning of 2020, the automation development of some large bulk cargo terminals (mainly referring to coal terminals) in China has completed the transition from “semi-automation” to “full automation”, such as Luojing Automated Bulk Terminal, Huangye Port Coal Terminal, and Tianjin Port Nanjiang Bulk Cargo Terminal. The Caofeidian Coal Terminal of Tangshan Port has also started implementing the Caofeidian series of “smart port” projects.

The following article will introduce the development of automated bulk cargo terminals in China.

1 Shanghai Luojing Bulk Cargo Terminal

shanghai automated bulk cargo terminals

shanghai automated bulk cargo terminals

Looking Bulk Cargo Terminal is one of the important bulk cargo terminals in Shanghai Port. The port area is located in Baoshan District, Shanghai.

Berths 01-12 of Luojing Coal Terminal have a water depth of up to 11 meters and a berth length of 212-720 meters; Luojing Liquid Bulk Terminal has two berths 01 and 02 with a berth length of 740 meters.

The construction of Luojing Wharf includes three phases of projects, with a coastline length of about 2,800 meters. ABB Group participated in the construction and was completed and put into operation in 2007.

Among them, Luojing Phase II Project is an important project in Shanghai, invested by Shanghai International Port Group Co., Ltd., and is the largest bulk cargo terminal in Shanghai Port.

Shanghai Luojing Phase II Terminal is the world’s first automated bulk cargo terminal. It has a fully automatic bridge-type grab ship unloader, a fully automatic stacker/reclaimer, and a fully automatic ship loader. All automated machines are centrally controlled. room remote control.

The grab ship unloader is equipped with a complete laser scanning technology system, which avoids the danger caused by personnel factors in traditional bulk cargo terminals with high-precision technology.

The control system of Luojing Phase II Wharf has realized the dynamic real-time monitoring of the whole process, networked collection through power line communication technology, and then real-time data processing and timely feedback. The monitoring of automatic loading and unloading equipment at the terminal is also extremely strict, and the operating status of various automatic loading and unloading machines in the port area needs to be reported to the control room in real-time. In addition, the new operating machines introduced by the terminal are driven by electricity, which not only increases the operating efficiency of the port crane system by 3-4 times but also alleviates the impact of greenhouse gases on the port environment.

02 Huangye Port Coal Terminal

huangye automated bulk cargo terminals

huangye automated bulk cargo terminals

Huangyan Port is located on the shore of the Bohai Sea in Huangye City, Hebei Province. It is the shortest seaport for coal transportation from Shaanxi Province and Inner Mongolia. The port is owned by the Huangye Port Company of the National Energy Group, which is mainly engaged in the export of coal.

Huangyan Port mainly includes a coal wharf, bulk cargo wharf, comprehensive wharf, and estuary wharf.

The port currently has 17 coal berths, 2 general cargo berths, and 1 liquid chemical berth. The annual designed coal handling capacity of the port is 178 million tons.

From 2017 to 2019, the annual cargo throughput of Huangye Port was 270 million tons, 280 million tons, and 290 million tons respectively, and the throughput increased year by year.

In 2016, Huangye Port Company established a port automation research and development team to conduct special research and development on the automation of coal terminals.

In 2019, Huangye Port completed the research and development of the automated terminal and realized the operation of the automated coal terminal through the integrated visualization system, monitoring and early warning system, and emergency response system, which also made the Huangye Port Coal Terminal the first in China to realize the entire process Coal terminal for remote operations.

The coal wharf of Huangye Port has introduced a remote operating system to conduct unified scheduling of dumper operations, stacker operations, reclaimer operations, and ship loading operations at the coal wharf.

Port staff uses the control system to complete the automation of various machinery and equipment. Now only 2 staff are required to control 7 machines at the terminal, which greatly saves manpower and time resources and improves the work efficiency of the coal terminal.

03 Tianjin Port Nanjiang Bulk Cargo Terminal

Tianjin automated bulk cargo terminals

Tianjin automated bulk cargo terminals

Nanjiang Bulk Cargo Terminal is located in the Nanjiang Port Area of ​​Tianjin Port and is one of the main terminals for coal loading and unloading business in Tianjin Port.

The terminal has a total of 7 coal berths, of which, berths 07-10 belong to China Coal Huaneng Coal Terminal Company; berths 13-15 belong to Shenhua Terminal.

At present, Tianjin Port is gradually carrying out the construction of an automated green wharf. The operating ships in the Nanjiang Port Area and the Bohai Oil Platform work ships have reached 100% use of shore power, and the wharf automation transformation in the Nanjiang Port Area has also been basically completed. .

Nanjiang Bulk Cargo Terminal completed the renovation of the automated terminal in 2019.

The terminal has changed the operation mode of “turning over and loading” of the traditional bulk cargo terminal, adopting a new type of automatic loading system, scanning the hull through laser radar, and then carrying out the loading work, realizing the automatic loading operation under unmanned conditions.

The automation system can independently restrain and dispose of different dangerous actions, ensuring the safety of the staff and improving the production efficiency of the bulk cargo terminal.

04 Tangshan Port Caofeidian Port Area Coal Wharf

Caofeidian automated bulk cargo terminals

Caofeidian automated bulk cargo terminals

The coal wharf in Caofeidian Port is located in the west of Bohai Bay, and is another important outlet for China’s “transportation of coal from north to south”.

The No. 01-05 coal wharf in Caofeidian Port has a water depth of 15.5 meters and a berth length of about 1,440 meters. This wharf is the port for the “Mengji-Hebei Railway Supporting” and is also the coal-specialized wharf with the largest single capacity in China.

At present, the terminal is provided by China Communications Water Transportation Planning Institute Co., Ltd. with the “Fully Automated Bulk Cargo Terminal” program, and the construction of the automated terminal has already begun.

The automatic wharf transformation of the coal wharf in the Caofeidian Port area adopts cutting-edge technologies such as an unmanned stacker-reclaimer system based on 3D scanning, APS intelligent production scheduling system, and the transformation of the centralized control center of the continued construction project. Independent research and development of a full range of automated terminal equipment such as “on-site perception”, “intelligent unmanned equipment”, “optimized control to real-time production” and “intelligent scheduling and scheduling”.

After a new round of scale expansion in Chinese ports, the basic scale of bulk cargo terminals has reached its limit, and the traditional development model may no longer be suitable for the future development needs of terminals.

The world’s ports are undergoing the upgrading of automated port terminals. Through the automated transformation of bulk cargo terminals, the intelligent application of bulk cargo terminals will be strengthened, the market competitiveness of bulk cargo terminals will be enhanced, and the level of automated management of bulk cargo terminals will be improved. This an important problem that the cargo terminal company urgently needs to solve.