China's first indigenously developed automated container terminal in Qingdao, Shandong province, began operations on Wednesday, marking a significant step forward by the nation in achieving core competitiveness in the ports sector, the port operator said.
The third phase of the automated terminal of the Qingdao port achieved complete localization of systems and equipment, with its infrastructure powered by 28,000 homegrown components, said Shandong Port Group Co.
Specifically, the first fully self-developed container intelligent control system — the core of the automated terminal — boasts millisecond-level data refresh rates and high processing efficiency, positioning it at the forefront of global innovation, said Chen Qiang, deputy manager of the information technology department of the automated terminal.
The previous system required weekly maintenance and upgrades, resulting in the simultaneous shutdown of hundreds of devices for nearly an hour and substantial economic losses, Chen said.
However, with the implementation of the intelligent control system, upgrades can be performed at any time without disrupting on-site operations.
The fully automated terminal has transformed operations, nearly eliminating the need for manual intervention in the operation of nearly 200 pieces of machinery. Former equipment operators now work in remote control rooms, transitioning from hands-on joystick operations to mouse-click control.
With the entire process managed by automated scheduling and machinery operations, the terminal can reduce on-site staff by 80 percent compared to traditional terminals, while achieving a 30 percent increase in overall operational efficiency, according to the company.
The newly operational terminal has not only achieved significant breakthroughs in various domestically developed technologies, but has also prioritized replication and scalability during its construction, said Liu Fangchao, a professor at Qingdao Harbour Vocational and Technical College.
By emphasizing compatibility, the terminal's achievements can be effectively integrated into diverse port environments, fostering an interconnected national port infrastructure, Liu said.
It will also offer a more intelligent, greener, safer and economically viable approach to the construction of automated ports worldwide, Liu added.
China remained the world's largest trading nation for goods for a sixth consecutive year in 2022, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. Over 90 percent of the country's import and export cargo volumes are transported by sea, according to the Ministry of Transport.
China's ports, a vital link in global maritime trade, have also clinched the top spot in global rankings for both cargo and container throughput for multiple consecutive years.
Chinese ports have not only grown in scale but have also become increasingly advanced over the years, which has enhanced operational efficiency and reinforced the country's position as a key player in international trade, Liu said.
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