CGTN: Vitality under COVID-19: China’s smart ports aid increased throughput

BEIJING, Dec. 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — China’s Qingdao Port, a subsidiary of Shandong Port Group and the second-largest foreign trade port in east China’s Shandong Province, has seen an increase in anchorage rotations of very large container ships, according to China Media Group.

The port has handled ultra-large container ships more than 300 times. Ultra-large container ships are usually 400 meters long and have a capacity of over 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).

The port has also handled 200-meter-long container ships more than 3,900 times, a 7-percent increase year on year, CMG said.

Handling that much freight under the impact of COVID-19 is challenging, particularly with reduced labor. However, the unloading rate at the Qingdao Port increased by 16 percent from January to November, thanks to the port’s record-setting intelligent system.

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the global port and water transportation industry. However, China’s major ports have seen an increase in throughput and made significant progress in digital and intelligent construction, thereby playing a leading role in the intelligent development of ports globally.

Qingdao Port is the world’s first to have an air-track intelligent transporting system capable of handling 1.5 million TEUs annually. The system set a new world record in June for managing as many as 67.76 TEUs in an hour, with an average of 60.18 TEUs per hour, a 14.2-percent jump from its previous record.

China now leads the world in the number of automated terminals, both built and under construction, according to the Ministry of Transport. All the major ports in Shanghai and Tianjin are equipped with automated bridge cranes or tracks.

Coupled with the continuous investment in domestic ports and a large number of high-tech enterprises, the concept and practice of smart port construction have been innovative, Mi Weijian, a professor at Shanghai Maritime University, told Xinhua.

For large corporate ports, such as the Shandong Port Science and Technology Group, in-house cooperation is the key to upgrading existing facilities into a fully automated waterfront container terminal, which helps reduce the overall costs by 70 percent compared with newly built terminals, according to Xinhua.

“Now we have traditional terminals, semi-automatic terminals and fully automatic terminals,” said Wang Yusheng, deputy general manager of the group. “The loading and unloading of a ship can be done in three different kinds of terminals, which maximizes the integration of terminal resources.