Wednesday, July 24, 2024

China’s Tianjin Port 2nd Pier Chichai Port, which connects all six elements of the port from people to vehicles, containers, ships, machinery, and yardage through 5G-based Internet of Things (IoT) technology


At the second pier of Tianjin Port, China, there were only two or three truck drivers. Instead, dozens of self-driving, self-driving cars that are 100% electric were diligently moving containers between the docked ship and the yard. On the other hand, a crane was looking for space and putting in containers as if playing a Tetris game, but it was also moving unmanned without a cockpit. This is a view of the “七彩 Port,” a smart port built by China with 6 billion yuan.

Xīnhuá tōngxùnshè

Thanks to eye-pleasing colorful cranes such as red, blue, yellow, green, and blue, Chichai Port with this name boasts 100% automation rate. It is designed to handle 2.5 million TEUs (1 TEU = one 20-foot container) per year. Construction began in December 2019 and was completed in 21 months, which is the fastest construction speed among ports of its kind in the world. It is also characterized by the completion of a power self-sufficiency system with renewable energy such as solar and wind power. China plans to turn the entire Tianjin Port into a smart and eco-friendly port by using Chichai Port as an engine of “new quality productivity,” which refers to the productivity driven by technological innovation.

Through 5G-based Internet of Things (IoT) technology, Chichai Port has connected all six elements of the port, from people to vehicles, containers, ships, machinery, and yard. It is about 30 employees of the control center called the “brain” of Chichai Port that coordinates this. They work 12-hour shifts, monitoring all tasks in real time, from ship berths to unmanned vehicles to loading and unloading containers, and remotely coordinate them. “When a ship arranges a dock to be anchored, cranes and unmanned vehicles automatically move and unload the container,” a control center official said. “Even unmanned vehicles move on their own as the route for movement is already fixed. If there is a disruption during operation, remote control is made.”

Thanks to automation, operational capabilities have significantly increased. The number of people can be reduced by 60 percent compared to manual methods, while the efficiency of anchoring ships can be increased by 28 percent and the hours of loading and unloading can be shortened by 26 percent. Energy consumption will also be reduced by more than 20 percent. “In the past, traffic congestion in the port was severe (due to trucks carrying containers), but after autonomous driving was introduced, traffic congestion disappeared, making the working environment pleasant,” said an official at Chichai Port.

Chichai Port is also drawing attention for its low-carbon system. It is powered by electricity from unloading and transportation equipment in the port to unmanned vehicles, and it is covered by solar and wind energy directly produced by Chichai Port without drawing power from outside. To this end, eight wind power generators and 100 million kilowatts (kW) solar power generators were installed in various parts of the port, including the roof of the building. They explained that such a system reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 75,000 tons (t) per year.

Chichai Port plans to increase its volume to 2.8 million TEUs this year. This exceeds the design capacity of 2.5 million TEUs. By April, it had already processed 800,000 TEUs, 30% of its target. If China’s imports and exports continue to remain strong, the goal is expected to be achieved without difficulty. According to the General Administration of Customs, monthly exports to China increased by 5.1% (in yuan) in April alone, significantly exceeding market expectations (1.3-1.5%). As a result, exports from January to April increased by 4.9% year-on-year, and imports also increased by 6.8% during the same period.


China, which gained confidence in smart ports through Chi Chiayi Port, is working to expand such a system to the entire Tianjin Port. Tianjin Port, which ranked eighth in the world with 22.17 million TEUs in volume last year, has now increased its automation rate to 65%. As Tianjin Port serves as a maritime crossing point for China’s foreign expansion policy of “One Belt, One Road (the Silk Road on land and sea connecting China, Central Asia, and Europe), China’s maritime market is expected to expand further thanks to automation. On the 8th, Tianjin Port added a South American route and shortened the delivery time to Brazil from 54 days to 40 days.

Analysts say such smart ports are also in line with “new quality productivity,” a key keyword of China’s economy this year. New quality productivity is a concept first mentioned by Chinese President Xi Jinping during an inspection of Heilongjiang Province in September last year, and refers to productivity led by technological innovation, unlike traditional productivity that relies on large amounts of resource input. The state-run Xinhua News Agency cited Chichai Port as an example of new quality productivity, saying, “It is to use new technologies to empower industries, promote in-depth changes and upgrades, and continue to optimize industrial chains and supply chains.”

Smart ports will save labor costs and further become environmental docks. The port is a collection of all things that contribute to environmental pollution. If the port is operated stably, it can be an example of other countries in the future.




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