Increasing trade of commodities between countries is driving the demand for bulk terminals. In order to carry out operations and handle a lot of commodities, companies are implementing new technologies and machinery to smoothly handle and control bulk cargo. Bulk terminals are also adopting process automation using various hardware and software solutions. Bulk terminals are also upgrading their Terminal Operating Systems (TOS). For instance, North Sea Terminal Bremerhaven GmbH, most important terminal in Europe has upgraded its TOS. The terminal implemented N4 3.1 and will also migrate to N4 later.
However, conflicts between automation of bulk terminals and labor unions are still going on. While, companies are trying to provide better training to workers to handle new technologies, ensuring that both workers and terminals can benefit while moving forward to implement new technologies.
According to the report by Future Market Insights (FMI), Australia, India and China within APEJ region are holding a major share in the global bulk terminals market. These three countries are expected to collectively exceed 80% market share by 2026 end. In terms of volume, the global bulk terminal market is anticipated to register 3.2% CAGR within next 10 years. While APEJ bulk terminal market is expected to exceed 45% in terms of market volume by the end of 2026. It is also projected to register 3.8% CAGR, reaching around 9700 million tons by 2026 end.
Emerging technologies to transform bulk terminal operations
The evolution of new technologies has drastically transformed operations and design of bulk terminals. With automation of equipment and machines, terminals are able to quickly manage the process. New technologies at bulk terminals have also resulted in high productivity levels and increased competition. Smart data, digitization and robotics are slowly emerging as the backbone of bulk terminal operations.
Internet of Things (IoT) can also offer various opportunities to the bulk terminals. With IoT, devices, machines, trucks, containers and infrastructure can become intelligent, exchanging vital information through connectivity. Terminals will also adopt sensor-based solutions to enable machine-to-machine communication.
Bulk terminals are also moving towards becoming fully automated. For instance, Peel Ports have invested in the fully automated terminal. The automated system has provided safety and health benefits. It has also increased storage capacity by 40 to 50%. This has also resulted in 50% reduction in labor. The port has opted for CareGo System. The system is also helping to plan supply chain management by providing real time information on the location of the cargo and its arrival time. Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview (MBTL) has also received its first permit to build Coal Export Terminal. Hence, the company is planning to build a state-of-art export terminal in Cowlitz County, WA.
To track the movement of vehicles and containers, bulk terminals are also implementing different hardware such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Real Time Locating System (RTLS), Ocular Character Recognition (OCR) and Global Positioning Satellite (GPS). For instance, SPRC terminal is planning to implement automation solution including Marine Telematics Software (MTS) by Navis, along with RTLS technology by Zebra Technologies, providing real time location information.
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