Types of Automated Container Terminals

By | 28/11/2014
An automated container terminal can be defined as a terminal that runs as an automated process some or all of discharging of ships, transport, and yard equipment operations.

Categorization of container terminals by automated zone

Automated container terminals are classified into full and semi automation according to the degree of automation. Full or semi automation is determined by whether the sector from discharging to transfer is automated using a second trolley and unmanned AGVs (automated guided vehicles).


Automated zone

Major terminals

Discharging of ships


Loading & unloading vehicles

Fully automated terminal

Discharging from ships: manned operation

On-land discharging: unmanned operation

Unmanned AGV



- CTA in Germany

- ECT in the Netherlands

Semi-automated terminal

Manned operation

Manned Y/T



- HJNC in South Korea

- PNC in South Korea

- TMP in the UK

- HIT in Hong Kong

While those automated terminals that operate in Europe tend to pursue full automation, the automated terminal being run at Pusan New Port (PNC), which has its operating system supplied from CyberLogitec, has adopted semi automation focusing on its yard.
semi-automated container terminal HJNC terminal in Busan

HJNC terminal, the semi-automated container terminal


Categorization of container terminals by target of automation

An automated container terminal is composed of terminal operating system (TOS) for software and automation of equipment for hardware.
Automation of a terminal operating system consists in automating gate control system, stacking area control system, and equipment control system that can improve productivity through linkage to automation of berth assignment, ship planning, and yard planning with a view to shortening time and maximizing turnover.
And equipment automation seeks to save labor and shorten time by automating the gate and ensuring unmanned operation of discharging equipment such as cranes and transfer equipment.
Automation that is limited to software is called manned automation, while automation that includes hardware as well is called unmanned automation.
In addition, for operating an automated terminal, one should consider wired/wireless network, database, and EDI communication.


Posted by In-Chon Park, a Business Analyst who has investigated container terminal market for several years and conducted TOS projects recently.


Have something to say about automated container terminals? Leave a comment below. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.