Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC) chairman Lee Hsien-yi stated on 5 May that the newly built No. 7 terminal in Taiwan’s Kaohisung port is the country’s first fully automated container terminal, and he hopes it will help increase the port’s throughput.
Evergreen Marine Corporation started operating the No. 7 terminal on 1 May, after the first phase of construction was completed. The Taiwanese mainline operator has a 20-year concession to run the facility, and the second phase of construction is expected to be finished in June 2024.
Lee said the No. 7 terminal uses unmanned vehicles, remote control, Internet of Things network coverage, 5G and Artificial Intelligence systems, which can significantly improve the efficiency of container yard operations.
TIPC noted in a press statement that due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the operation of traditional container terminals that relied heavily on manual operations was greatly challenged. Under the circumstances of global labour crunch and sudden lockdowns, the pandemic caused berthing delays, congested terminals, and delays in container loading and unloading operations. Automation has, therefore, overcome these constraints.
Building the No. 7 terminal cost approximately US$1.33 billion, of which around US$660 million was funded by TIPC, and Evergreen contributed the remaining US$670 million.
For start, after the second phase of construction is finished, the terminal will have an annual handling volume of 4.5 million TEUs. Over the long term, the target is to achieve 6.5 million TEUs.
In 2022, Kaohsiung processed 9.49 million TEUs, a 4% dip from 2021, as container volumes began contracting after the pandemic-fuelled boom.
With a water depth of 18 metres, and five berths with a length of over 2.4km, the No. 7 terminal can accommodate four 24,000 TEU container ships at the same time.
Lee said, “The road to innovation and breakthrough isn’t easy. We experienced a severe shortage of human resources during the pandemic, which led to construction challenges and other difficulties. TIPC and the construction companies, have been discussing and making major decisions with Evergreen for more than four years. We managed to build the No. 7 Terminal in the shortest possible time, to seize the opportunity in the ever-changing shipping market.”
With Evergreen now occupying the No. 7 Terminal, it has vacated Kaohsiung’s No. 5 Terminal, which will be taken over by its compatriot, Wan Hai Lines.
Source: Container News