ABI Research predicts that worldwide deployment of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) in seaports will exceed 150,000 by 2027, rising at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 26% from 2022 to 2027. This will occur as global outbound freight volume crosses 13,000 million metric tons by 2027, at a CAGR of nearly 5% from 2022 to 2027.
Seaports globally have increased their automation initiatives to mitigate port congestion. Equipment like gantries, automated port gates, stacking cranes, and horizontal transport solutions, such as AGVs that are transport containers and loads to and from ships, have been the most productivity-enhancing solutions in seaports.
"Automation enhances the reliability, consistency, predictability (via data analytics), and security of port operations. From an environmental perspective, automation can lead to lower energy consumption, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint. Automated ports are also far safer than conventional ports. The number of human-related disruptions falls as performance becomes more predictable with automation and data capture solutions," said Adhish Luitel, senior analyst, supply chain management and logistics at ABI Research.
Ports future-proofing infrastructure
To complement the deployment of automated equipment, port authorities have also been investing in future-proofing infrastructure and introducing 5G/LTE private networks covering entire port premises.
Recently, seaports have become a primary focus for the telco sector as cellular private networks are imperative for streamlined operations of automated solutions, data capture via Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, and communications between devices or personnel.
Telco providers like Vodafone and Huawei have been partnering with authorities to deploy private networks in various seaports worldwide. Similarly, vendors like AEye, VDL Automated Vehicles, and Konecranes have been deploying solutions, such as AGVs, automated cranes, and sensors, to integrate with the private network infrastructure.
"Streamlined automation in ports also highlights the need for huge volumes of timely data that is required to control and monitor all the moving assets. To enable automated solutions to function to their fullest and work with each other, ports need to provide a level of data reliability in a cost-effective manner. For this, wireless connectivity is the best option," said Luitel.