Qingdao Port smart system a world first

By CHENG YU in Beijing and XIE CHUANJIAO in Qingdao, Shandong| (China Daily)| Updated : 2020-11-18

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Intelligent tech heralds 'zero transfer' container movement across port, land and rail

Qingdao Port of Shandong Port Group is building the world's first air-track intelligent transport system. The project marks China's significant step forward in constructing intelligent ports.

The country is already home to Asia's first fully automated port, the New Qianwan Container Terminal at Qingdao Port in Shandong province, where AI enables operations to continue day and night.

Now, with the new air-track intelligent transporting system, containers at Qingdao Port will be transported directly from the yard on air to the rail port, without loading and unloading them on the ground. It realizes "zero transfer "among port, land and railway in terms of container transportation.

After project completion, the multi-port transportation route will be 9.5 kilometers long, and annual capacity will reach 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalents, Qingdao Port told China Daily.

Industry insiders said loading and unloading of port containers always presented technical and time constraints. A safer, more efficient, environmentally friendly and economical transportation method, like the one being built in Qingdao, is needed across the world.

"The biggest advantage of such a system is that it combines port business with rail business, which will greatly relieve traffic jams and other problems in ground transportation," said Yin Jian, general manager of the fully automated port of Qingdao Port.

"Compared with traditional railways, the cost of using such a transportation system will also be reduced by at least 80 percent. It shows to the rest of the world the future direction of smart transportation for cities, ports, and logistics," Yin said.

He disclosed the first phase of the project starts at the seaside of the automated terminal and ends at the adjacent human-operated terminal area. With a length of 612 meters, the first phase is expected to start operations in June next year.

Qingdao Port signed a cooperation agreement with CRRC Yangtze Co Ltd to jointly leverage advanced technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence, big data and BeiDou satellite navigation system to improve the technology of air-track transporting system.

Zheng Qingxiu, an official in charge of waterway management with the Ministry of Transport, said earlier that Qingdao Port is on its way to becoming an intelligent and green port, setting an example for other domestic ports.

Currently, 5G technology is used in operations involving quay cranes, rail-mounted gantry cranes, container movement and high-definition video data transmission.