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The scarcity of land near ports coupled with the rising volume of containers to be processed has forced most shipping terminals to move from the chassis system to systems that permit stacking of containers. The current trend in the industry is to use existing facilities more efficiently through the application of advanced technologies, better logistics and automation. High density, high productivity terminals that utilize the existing land more efficiently will become very attractive alternatives as the demand rises and competition puts pressures for higher productivity at a lower cost.
High-density, container terminals are potential candidates for improving the performance of container terminals and meeting the challenges of the future in marine transportation. Recent advances in electronics, sensors, information technologies and automation make the development of fully automated terminals technically feasible.
For many years, the container industry innovation has been placed on the economies of scale by operating larger ships. Lately, the trend followed by operators is turning into differentiation . Recent developments have shown that a key to efficiency in container handling is the automation of in-yard transportation, storing and stacking to increase the terminal throughput and decrease ship turnaround time at the terminal. In the recent years, operators have continually evolved from a technological perspective towards automation.
Economically, studies show that automated systems are less expensive than traditional manual ones, even considering the higher capital expenses, paying off in a short period of time. Performance wise, automated systems require more equipment, but they can achieve similar performance levels as manned equipment. Prerequisite is intelligent, flexible and robust software, which has to be proved in practice yet.
Some areas where automation can add extra value to the logistics are:
India's growth rate is pegged at 7.5% per annum. With this growth rate the Exim trade is bound to increase substantially. The finished goods export or import will be moving from the coast to the hinterland through complex process of non-value added outdated methods and logistical hurdles.