Hutchison Ports plans to open a fully-remote-controlled container terminal in Laem Chabang, Thailand, in June.
The new $600 million, 1.7 kilometer (one mile) Terminal D will become operational in three phases with final completion planned for 2024. It will increase Laem Chabang’s capacity by 3.5 million TEUs, and both quay and gantry cranes are remotely controlled. The cranes, three super post-Panamax quay cranes and eight electric rubber tired gantry cranes, were built by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry (ZPMC).
The automation will result in around 25 percent fewer employees compared to conventional terminals. The company said that more women and older workers will be able to work at the terminal as a result of the automation – Thailand is currently experiencing a labor shortage.
Laem Chabang is the nation’s largest commercial port and is part of Thailand’ s Eastern Economic Corridor under Thailand 4.0’s objective to modernize the economy through improved infrastructure and innovation. The Terminal D development is expected to benefit from increased trade as a result of China’s belt and road initiative. Hutchison is already the largest port operator in Thailand, running two of the three existing terminals at Laem Chabang. The company also has extensive operations in China.