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First Automated High-Bay Storage System to be Installed at Korean Port

automated high-box storage
South Korean terminal will employ the first commercial-scale application of the automated high-bay storage system (BOXBAY)

Published Mar 10, 2023 9:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

The first commercial installation of an automated high-bay storage system for containers is planned at the Busan New Port in South Korea. The storage system which is designed to increase productivity at the port will be integrated along with the existing truck operations as a retrofit on an existing empty storage area within the port, according to BOXBAY, a joint venture company formed by DP World and industrial engineering specialist SMS Group. 

The concept began testing in Dubai in 2021 and according to the companies has completed proof-of-concept showing the ability to dramatically increase productivity and safety for container operations.  The system was originally created to handle heavy metal coils by the German company and was later applied to the movement and storage of shipping containers. 

A pilot facility was built at Jebel Ali’s terminal in January 2021. It has a capacity of 800 TEU and was used as a proof-of-concept. The companies report by the end of  June 2022, 190,000 container movements had been carried out under realistic operations to verify the market maturity of the system. 

A contract was signed with BOXBAY and the Pusan Newport Corporation for the initiation of the design and engineering works for the site. PNC, which is 66 percent owned by DP World, handled 5.3 million TEU in 2021. The terminal is part of the operations in the tenth-largest port in the world.

“In Busan, we will once again demonstrate that our system can help port operators worldwide to overcome current challenges and get ready for the future,” said Mathias Dobner, BOXBAY CEO. “With the trust of a highly efficient terminal like that planned for PNC, we are confident of expanding our business further across the industry.”

The BOXBAY system will allow direct access to each container at any time in a fully automated operation. DP World intends to power the system by using solar power, generated by photovoltaic panels on the roof of the storage system.

Once installed at a commercial scale, they anticipate that the system will eliminate 350,000 unproductive moves per year. This would improve the overall truck servicing time by 20 percent.

Pusan Newport Terminal is already one of the highest-performing container terminals in Asia. With the addition of the automated BOXBAY, they expect to boost efficiency and the competitiveness of the terminal.