Labor Requirement in Conventional versus Fully Automated Terminals

Labor Requirement in Conventional versus Fully Automated Terminals

Sources: Journal of Commerce; Moffat & Nichol; Moody’s Investors Service.
Notes: Supercargo is a shipboard representative of the cargo owners. A signalman is a worker providing guidance for crane operators. A swingperson directs traffic under cranes so that vehicles are properly alligned. A container handler is a person taking car of the latching and unlatching of containers. Figures are for a berth of five portainers. Conventional assumes eight Utility Tractor Rig (UTR) drivers, four swingmen under the hook, two crane operators, and one signalman per gang. Automated assumes Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
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Efficiencies and productivity derived from automation are in part attributed to lower labor requirements, reducing operational costs, and the potential for errors and accidents. On a per dock crane basis (portainer), automation can reduce around 50 to 60% of the labor requirements.

For semi-automated container terminals, horizontal transport is performed by tractor drivers which usally invovleds five to eight drivers per portainer. For a conventional container yard, operating four RTGs for each portainer requires two to four workers. Yard automation allows one supervisor to manage three to four RTGs.