APM Terminals gives a view of how drones are changing port operations

APM Terminals gives a view of how drones are changing port operations

APM Terminals has highlighted how it is using drones at its Chilean facilities for security and to drive operational efficiency.

Three drones are being operated, one in Santiago and two in the company’s larger facility in San Antonio. Safety supervisors are able to focus on workshops and areas with less machine traffic. Other risks, such as high container stacks, are also monitored.
Earlier versions of the drone, in operation since 2016, were only equipped with a camera but now each unit has sensors for night-time flying as well as a speaker to communicate directly with people on the ground.

The drones are guided by geofencing – a route map for flying. The pilot has a live-stream view, so he can make phone calls to the necessary people or even fly in and use the speakers to inform a truck driver that they need to get back into their truck.

“Since the arrival of the drones, visibility of terminal operations has improved considerably and hot spots, such as traffic flow, container stack efficiency and unsafe behaviour can be identified instantly,” commented Hector Espinoza, director for Latin America at APM Terminals’ subsidiary Container Operators.

The drones can also perform previously dangerous tasks such as rooftop and crane inspections. “Blind-spots between high-density container stacks now are totally visible from a bird’s eye view,” Espinoza said. The management team in Chile has plans to systematically review all critical tasks using the drone, he said.

This low-cost initiative to reinforce the company’s commitment to safe operations is expected to quickly catch on at other APM Terminals’ locations.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Chris
    September 3, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Very interesting, still feel we’re only just scrtatching the surface of using drones with industry.