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Discover how port operations move the loading and unloading of containers at ports

Written by Rafaela Fabris
Published 09/07/2024 às 19:10
Discover how port operations move the loading and unloading of containers at ports
Image: MJ/Disclosure

Have you ever stopped to think about how port operations work? Those huge ships, giant cranes and thousands of stacked containers play a crucial role in our daily lives.

Before containerization, ships carried several small loads, which made the process slow and disorganized. But with the arrival of containers, everything changed! Cargo is organized and classified before shipment, allowing for much greater efficiency in ports and port operations. This means that ships can load and unload their cargo much faster and in an orderly manner.

Containers are stacked on ships like LEGO bricks, starting at the base. The cargo holds, where they are stored, can be up to 40 meters deep. After filling the hold, a lid is placed on top to allow for additional loading on deck. Containers on the upper deck need extra lashings to ensure safety during travel.

Technologies and equipment in port operations

At container terminals, which are intermodal transportation hubs, containers switch from one mode of transportation to another. This means that a container arriving from a ship can be transferred to a truck or train. To unload containers from ships, huge gantry cranes, known as STS, are used, capable of lifting several tons of cargo.

Movement in the courtyard

Once unloaded, the containers are moved by specialized vehicles, called terminal tractors, which take them to the storage yard. There, they wait to be collected by trucks or trains. In the yard, equipment such as reach forklifts and tire-mounted gantry cranes are used to move and load containers onto vehicles.

Automation and efficiency

Many terminals are adopting automation to increase efficiency. At the port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, for example, several operations are already automated. An operator remotely controls the STS cranes, and autonomous vehicles (AGVs) transport the containers to the storage area. All of this is managed by computer systems that optimize stacking and access to containers.

Challenges and adaptations

Despite technological advances, full automation still faces challenges. Unexpected problems can cause delays, and that's where humans make the difference, with their ability to adapt. Ports are balancing automation with human oversight to ensure higher productivity and security.

So, guys, now you know a little more about port operations and how loading and unloading containers works. It's incredible to see how this complex logistics keeps the world running!

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Rafaela Fabris

Talks about innovation, renewable energy, oil and gas. Updates daily on opportunities in the Brazilian job market.

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