Grup TCB orders Orbita Gate Automation Solution for Flagship Barcelona Container Terminal

Container terminal group to install Orbita’s GateSuite OCR system as part of a major expansion project at its TCB Barcelona facility

By MarEx 2013-04-17 11:33:00

Container terminal operator Grup TCB has selected process automation and engineering specialist Orbita Ingenieria to automate the truck gates at its flagship facility, TCB - Terminal de Contenidors de Barcelona. The contract will see Orbita supply its GateSuite optical character recognition (OCR) solution to automate 10 new entry and exit truck lanes being built as part of a major expansion programme at the leading Spanish container terminal.

Now underway, and due for completion this November, the project includes installation of truck lane gantries equipped with GateOCR, Orbita’s automated container identification and truck license plate reader system. GateOCR combines IP camera technology, megapixel sensors and sophisticated image processing using neural networks and other vision techniques to deliver high reliability in reading ISO container numbers and truck license plates, as well as capturing images for container damage inspection control.

Orbita will additionally supply its GateOS software to integrate gate OCR data with ARGOS, Grup TCB’s terminal operating system (TOS) and will provide the hardware and systems needed for truck drivers to interact with the TOS, including QR Code readers and RFID readers. The project also covers the removal and relocation of TCB’s existing Megaports radiation detection portals and infrastructure to the new terminal gates.

TCB, which handled close to 800,000TEU in 2012, is one of Spain’s longest established and largest terminals. Serving global carriers including CMA-CGM, Maersk Line and the G6 Alliance, it is a major Mediterranean gateway for the Far East container trades, plus American, Caribbean and African services. As a predominantly import-export facility, 80% of TCB’s container traffic enters or exits on the landside by truck and rail, making the gates critical to overall terminal performance.

The current manual gates can handle up to 200 transactions per hour at peak times. When the new automated gate complex is fully installed, TCB expects to boost capacity by nearly 25%, serving a terminal now being expanded from 57 to 81 hectares. “The new process will bring maximum reliability to the gate operations and increase the productivity of the terminal at the gates,” said Narcis Pavon, Terminal & Operations Manager at TCB. “This investment will also help improve our damage inspection control, claims handling and security processes.”

TCB anticipates significant improvements in operational efficiency, not just for the terminal but also for customers and the wider port community. “The new automated gates will bring a lot of benefits to everyone in the logistics chain,” added Pavon. “All of the current paperwork will disappear, as every single operation will be identified by a pre-advised PIN code that the truck driver will input at the entrance gate. The new process will allow us to optimise terminal planning, resource allocation and cost control, while trucking companies will be able to plan their schedules better.”

David Serral, IT Director for Grup TCB, explained that TCB is already running a truck pre-booking system and is now planning to upgrade this in agreement with the local port community. “The combination of this with the new OCR technology will allow us to create faster and more efficient gates to the benefit of all.”

This is the third gate automation project undertaken worldwide by Grup TCB and the second with Orbita, following installation of the GateSuite technology at its TCV terminal in Valencia last year. “Our previous experience with Orbita was very successful,” noted Serral. “Their perfect integration with our ARGOS TOS, and the general quality of their system, were key factors in selecting them again for TCB Barcelona.”

“Orbita is very pleased to have been chosen by Grup TCB for this prestige project,” said Francisco Grau Cavanillas, Account Manager for Ports and Terminals at Orbita. “Our design and engineering team is collaborating closely with Grup TCB’s IT and Civil Engineering departments to ensure that once again we deliver a highly successful outcome.”

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