Hutchison Ports, the container terminal operator at Sohar Port in Oman, has taken a further step towards full automation, with the launch of its new Auto Gate system at Terminal C. The terminal already features remote-controlled quayside cranes capable of handling next generation 20,000 teu vessels.
His Excellency Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Salem Al-Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications in Oman, was on hand to officially inaugurate the new, state-of-the-art facilities.
“Auto Gate promises to make container shipments even faster and more secure, strengthening the port’s already excellent reputation as the new gateway to the Gulf,” said Albert Pang, chief executive of Hutchison Ports Sohar. “We recently introduced an automated truck appointment system in Sohar and the introduction of Auto Gate will continue to reduce our already fast turnaround times for shippers and trucking companies alike.”
The Auto Gate system utilises a combination of smart technologies, allowing truck drivers to pass through the container terminal gates with no paper documentation, reducing the potential for delays. Drivers can remain inside their vehicles at all times during security checks, inspections and container movements. The new system includes machine-readable cards to store driver information; character-recognition cameras to read truck plate numbers; self-service kiosks for inputting shipping codes; and RFID tags to further improve terminal security.
The terminal has also recently started to handle Ocean Alliance services at Sohar. The Alliance, which was launched in April with a membership of CMA CGM, China Cosco Shipping, Evergreen Line and Orient Overseas Container Line, will be calling weekly into Sohar port, which is experiencing strong growth in container volumes. Box traffic in the first quarter of 2017 was 6% up on the equivalent months of 2016.
Mark Geilenkirchen, Sohar Port chief executive, welcomed the new Auto Gate facilities: “Investments in technology to optimise and modernise terminal operations, increase turnaround speed for our customers, and time is money in logistics. These are savings that can be passed down right along the supply chain to make Oman even more competitive as a significant regional hub.”